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Full text of "The land of the dollar"

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THE LAND OF THE DOLLAE 



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THE 



LAND OF THE DOLLAE 



BY 



G. W. STEEVENS 

AUTHOR OF 'naval POLICY,' ETC. 





W' 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS 

EDINBURGH AND LONDON 

MDCCCXCVII 



All Riahts reserved 



PREFATORY NOTE. 



I HAVE to thank the proprietors of the ' Daily Mail,' 
for which these letters were originally written, for 
permission to repnblish them. They have been re- 
tained in the form of a diary, as it is in the gradiial 
initiation of an ignorant bnt unprejudiced English- 
man into American institutions and character that 
any interest or usefulness of this book must consist. 



CONTENTS. 



I. 


THE VOYAGE 






1 


II. 


NEW YORK .... 






10 


III. 


WHERE NEW YORK LIVES 






20 


IV. 


THE DOLLAR 






29 


V. 


THE U.S.N, . 






38 


VI. 


BOSTON .... 






47 


VII. 


A STATE ELECTION 






54 


VIII. 


A STATE CONVENTION . 






63 


IX. 


NIAGARA .... 






73 


X. 


WILLIAM J. BRYAN : DEMAGOGUE 






80 


XI. 


THE CAPITAL AND THE CAPITOL . 






88 


XII. 


IN THE SOUTH . . . . 






96 


XIII. 


SOUTHERN POLITICS 






105 


XIV. 


PHILADELPHIA . . . . 






115 


XV. 


AT THE SHRINE OF m'kINLEY 






124 


XVI. 


ANTI-ENGLAND . . . . 






133 


XVII, 


CHICAGO . . . . . 






144 


5VIII. 


AMONG THE DAIRY-FARMERS 






153 



lii 


CONTENTS. 








xix. 


THE CAMPAIGN . . . . 


. 


164 


XX. 


FOOD AND DKINK 




176 


XXI. 


THE BIGGEST PARADE ON EARTH . 






185 


XXII. 


OUT WEST . . . . 






195 


XXIII. 


A STRIKE . . . . . 






204 


XXIV. 


AMONG THE MORMONS 






212 


XXV. 


THE PACIFIC SLOPE . 






224 


XXVI. 


THE ISSUE 






234 


XXVII. 
CXVIII. 


THE HEATHEN CHINEE 
ON THE ROAD . 






242 
252 


XXIX. 


BUSINESS .... 






. 264 


XXX. 


WAITING .... 






. 274 


XXXI. 


THE DAY .... 






. 284 


XXXII. 


THE OUTLOOK . 






. 296 


SXXIII. 


THE AMERICAN . 






. 308 



THE LAND OF THE DOLLAK. 



THE VOYAGE. 

New York, September 4. 

If Africa begins at the Pyrenees and Asia at Buda- 
pest, then America begins on the departure platform 
at Euston. There, at least, it began on the blazing 
29th of August when, an obscure and perplexed 
Columbus, I started on a voyage of discovery to 
America, Men and women, children and infants in 
arms, the platform was black with the inhabitants 
of the States, hastening back from their descent on 
the Old World. The station rang with their greetings 
and partings ; the masses of their ironclad trunks 
swayed and toppled till they threatened to overwhelm 
Americans and Cunard Special and Euston itself. 
This was not merely the beginning of America. It 

A 



THE VOYAGE. 



was also — what I did not realise till later — the begin- 
ning of the Presidential election. Tor two months 
already the West -bound packets had been ferrying 
home the same nervous crowds, in haste lest there 
should be no room for them later. Crisis was in the 
air, and all were hurrying back to safeguard their own 
interests and those of the country they all adore. 

The whistle blew; I jumped in; the train started; 
a practical friend on the platform had the happy in- 
spiration of hurling in my luggage in a volley after 
me, and I was on the way to America. The run to 
Liverpool is very much the same, I noticed, when you 
are going to America as when you are only going to 
Liverpool. I expect it is different coming back. But 
at the end of the journey, after the Mersey Tunnel, it 
suddenly begins to be very impressive. Along silent 
wharves, across dingy streets, through dim warehouses, 
under huge dead walls crawled the train. I was now 
cut off from my country for good, and had got to go 
on with it, for nobody surely could ever have found 
the way back through that vast deserted maze. Then 
all at once we drew up in the bare Riverside station, 
and next moment appeared the quay and the giant 
Gam'pania, the largest ship in the world. The Gam- 
jpania is very like any other ship seen through a 
powerful magnifying-glass. The great length — over 
600 feet — and the comparatively narrow beam destroy 
any beauty in the lines. The vessel recalls Alice in 
Wonderland when she ate the elongating mushroom. 



AN OCEAN FERRY-BOAT. 3 

But two most enormous red funnels, with ventilators 
and bridges on the same scale, maintain a due propor- 
tion. As a ship the Campania is too big to be regarded 
as a personal friend, but she is an unrivalled way of 
getting to America. She does not walk the waters 
like a thing of life ; she pushes sturdily through them, 
flinging great walls of green water off her bows. As 
to her qualities as a hotel there is more diverse opinion. 
Her idea in life is to get you to New York as quickly 
as possible, rather than to make you comfortable on 
the way. Comfortable up to a certain point, of course, 
you are, but not to the point of luxury nor of making 
the ship a home. The captain and navigating ofticers 
live apart from the passengers ; they are not dispen- 
sing hospitality, but taking you swiftly and safely 
across the Atlantic. For the rest the Camimnia is not 
built with any large available space of deck for athletic 
sports and such diversions as other voyages afford. 
Nor, indeed, is the time at sea long enough for such ; 
you are just beginning to know your fellows by the 
time you get Sandy Hook light abeam. Briefly the 
passage of the Atlantic has ceased to be a voyage, and 
become a ferry. The available space of deck is occu- 
pied by serried ranks of deck-chairs, and the ship's in- 
habitants sit and sit, and are sea-sick. The casualties 
of the first day out were terrible, and not till Long 
Island was in sight were they really salved. The 
other main diversions of the voyage resolved them- 
selves into reading unimportant novels aloud, by 



4 TITK VOYAGE. 

pairs, on the deck, and gambling in the smoking-room 
— the nobler and the manlier one. Also there was 
eating. In reference to eating, I hold that the food 
provided by the Company is as good as you can expect, 
but this view was not held by all, or indeed by many. 
As good as you can expect — possibly ; but does this 
mean as good as you ought to get, or only as good as 
you are likely to get ? The Cunard has a noble repu- 
tation for bringing its passengers safe to their destina- 
tion. But I am bound to say that there was a strong 
body of opinion on board in favour of a trifle more 
chance of death by drowning, so it were balanced by 
a trifle less chance of death by starvation. I do not 
share that view myself ; I am as difficult to starve as, 
given a thousand miles from the nearest land, I should 
be easy to drown. Yet if I am ever chairman of the 
Cunard I think I shall make an effort. The food is 
good enough, and there is plenty of it. Why not try 
to make it nice ? 

I observed no sort of snobbishness on the Campania, 
such as you would hardly have missed with a boat 
populated with the same number of our people. No 
doubt the American has his veneration for the dollar. 
But so far as I have seen — which, mind you, is no way 
at all as yet — he reveres the dollar as an emblem of 
power ; and I should hardly call it snobbery to respect 
power. I had the good fortune to see a good deal of a 
gentleman who was perhaps typical. He first won 
ray regard by the rare art with which he conveyed his 



THE DOLLAK ALREADY. 

utter scorn for the steward without ever speaking to 
him. Then we were thrown together as the only 
members of our stewardship who faced dinner on the 
day of sea-sickness. " Are there any lords on board ? " 
he asked slowly in a half-misanthropic, half-wistful 
voice he had the charm to possess. I got out the 
passenger list and found none. " Any sirs ? " Only 
one sir was forthcoming. " Ah," he said, brightening 
a little, as one whose country had manifested a social 
superiority over mine, " I expect there are a good 
many moneyed men, though." Next morning he 
opened the conversation. " How much should you 
think this ship cost?" I was able to indulge him 
with particulars of the cost of many of the important 
ships in the world, and he began to confide in me. 
" That's a fine woman," he said, looking up the table ; 
" a very fine woman. I should think she was a very 
expensive woman." Yet, though instinctively he re- 
ferred everything to the standard of the dollar, I 
should say his feeling was simply respect for the 
power of doing things that without dollars could not 
be done. And his respect for the man of dollars was 
only a concrete form of respect for the ability to 
make them. 

On the morning of the sixth day out from Queens- 
town there began to crawl along the starboard horizon 
a pale blue line. " What do you think," began the 
wistful voice of my friend at my elbow — " Ijut you'd 
hardly have seen enough to judge of it yet." I assured 



6 THE VOYAGE. 

him that my first impressions were not unfavourable 
and turned for my second. As the screws kicked on 
through the dancing waves, the line grew broader, 
until it was plainly land ; high ground rose over the 
deeper blue of the waters, and presently began to take 
on colours of its own. Here was a faint green for 
woodland ; there a misty yellow for sand. It was the 
coast of Long Island, the first herald of America. 

Then came buildings dimly outlined on the sky- 
line ; then the same pale appearance on the port side 
also, which slowly shaped itself into the low dun 
spit of Sandy Hook. Nearing this, the Campania 
slowed down ; the lightship was abeam, and the 
passage was over. Past the Hook we glided, and 
then turned sharp to starboard into the noble ex- 
panse of New York Bay. The great ship crept 
deviously along the deep-water channel, but over the 
wide sheet of scarcely rippled water tiny launches and 
steam yachts scudded round and round us, as if we 
were a ten-knot tramp steamer instead of one of the 
fastest couriers of the Atlantic. As early as this 
much was unfamiliar to the English eye. The coast- 
ing schooners, flapping lazily in the vain expectation 
of a wind, were all three-masted ; the ferry-boats and 
harbour-service steamers were built high up out of the 
water with large deck-houses, out of which protruded 
the engines, see-sawing up and down. 

The great cities of New York and Brooklyn began 
to outline themselves against the clear sky. As you 



NEW YORK S SKY-LINE. 7 

enter Loudon from the Thames, you see little but a 
few ghost-like spires, glimmering in a vast canopy of 
smoke. New York and Brooklyn stand out clear and 
smokeless against the blue of the heavens. The two 
cities are profiled along the shores of the bay and 
the Hudson river, and a strange jagged profile it is. 
Brooklyn combines into a fairly even mass of build- 
ings, half yellow-grey, half chocolate, with a fringe of 
masts along the water. Then the heap of buildings 
slowly parts asunder in the middle ; you see the open- 
ing of the East Eiver, the frontier of the two cities, 
and the slim lines of the Suspension Bridge. But 
New York combines into no colour and no sky-line. 
Here is a red mass of brick, there a grey spire, there 
a bright white pile of building — twenty storeys of 
serried windows — there again a gilded dome. Gradu- 
ally they disengage themselves as you pass up the 
river in a line apparently endless. The rest of the 
city lies huddled beneath them — these buildings, too, 
many coloured, all uneven, each one seemingly 
struggling to shoot up alongside of the giants at 
its side. That is the first impression of New York, 
if impression it can be called. The truth is that 
New York yields no impression; the big buildings 
and the little buildings will not come into the same 
view. It dazzles, and it astonishes, but it does not 
make a picture. 

The business of getting a 600-foot liner alongside a 
wharf is painful enough to rub out the memory of the 



8 THE VOYAGE. 

pleasantest voyage and beget a passionate longing for 
the land. At last they brought us up, out swung the 
gangway, and we swarmed down on to the crowded 
wharf. For many minutes there had been greetings 
from the throng of welcoming friends, with waving of 
handkerchiefs and miniatures of the stars and stripes. 
ISTow followed the embraces ; bearded men caught and 
kissed each other, I saw, and passed on to get my 
luggage inspected. The New York Customs Service 
enjoys a world-wide reputation for ingenious incivility, 
but for my part I am bound to say that this reputa- 
tion went wholly unfulfilled. I consigned my goods 
to a baggage express, which duly delivered dinner- 
clothes and sleeping-clothes at one in the morning. 
As for my own vile body, I transported it in a cab, 
not to say a brougham and pair. I had been warned 
against the rash experiment, but having no vaguest 
idea where I was or whither I had to go, I damned 
the expense and took it. The price for about three 
miles or so, not allowing for the rate of exchange, was 
8s. 4d. I wondered at the time why New Yorkers 
stand such an abominable imposition ; but when I 
afterwards learned that by other means you can get from 
any point in the city to any other, almost as quickly 
and comfortably, for 2|d., I began to understand it. 

The first impression of New York life was that 
it gets very dark in the evening, and that the streets 
are most disgracefully paved. If you imagine the 
stones of Blackfriars Bridge taken up and relaid in 



NEW YORK'S STREETS. 



the nearest possible imitation of the upper surface of 
a Bath bun, then you will get a rough general idea of 
a first-class New York thoroughfare. It was refresh- 
ing, even after only a week at sea, to see trees and 
horses. The horses look very light — not to say weedy, 
long-barrelled and loose-coupled — when you think of 
ours ; and I saw some shamefully starved. Yet there 
is a lot of blood in them, and everybody knows what 
the American trotter can do. We drove through the 
falling dusk, and at first I thought the streets of New 
York singularly mean. They recalled the last bit 
of the railway journey at Liverpool — deserted ways and 
dead walls. But we were only passing through cross- 
streets. Presently we flashed into a blaze of electric 
light. A tram-car bore down on us, without any visi- 
ble means of propulsion, swift and noiseless ; it looked 
more like a gliding reptile than a machine. Then we 
rattled into a broad avenue, down the long middle of 
which ran a sort of arcade, supported on iron uprights. 
As the cab passed under it a couple of railway trains 
rushed overhead and rumbled away up and down the 
street. Not a featureless city, after all, New York. 
So we arrived at the Waldorf Hotel, a palace of marble 
and glass, gold and greenery. On sight, I was ad- 
judged worthy of Eoom 827, though if they had known 
the poverty of my luggage, judged by the American 
standard, who knows but what I should have been 
banished to 8000 or so ? From 827, therefore, I pro- 
ceed to the conquest of New York. 



10 



11. 



NEW YORK. 



New York, September 6. 

On the first morning I got up and went to my eighth- 
storey window : New York was spread out in bright 
sunshine below. Never have I seen a city more 
hideous or more splendid. Uncouth, formless, pie- 
bald, chaotic, it yet stamps itself upon you as the 
most magnificent embodiment of titanic energy and 
force. 

The foreground of my picture was a lightning- 
conductor, sweeping down from some dizzy, un- 
imagined height aslant to the street below. Be- 
neath was a wing of the Waldorf; on the left a 
deep, silent courtyard, whence some pittance of air 
and light filtered into the lower floors ; on the right 
a huge skeleton of iron girders that is to fill out 
into yet another gigantic branch of this gigantic 
hotel. Beyond lay the red, flat, sloping roofs of two 
streets of houses, four- or five-storeyed, with trees 
straggling up to the light between them : this might 



A CITY OF CHAOS. 11 

have been a bit of Bloomsbury. Beyond these, shut- 
ting out the direct front, rose to double their height 
the great, square, dirty white-and-yellow back of a 
huge Broadway store ; the blind - looking windows 
and outside iron stairs contradicted the comfortable 
Bloomsbury streets with a suggestion of overcrowd- 
ing and squalor. To the right of this, half-covered 
with creepers, a little church cocked a squat Gothic 
spire at heaven. To the left was a peep of Broad- 
way, with cable cars ceaselessly gliding to and fro ; 
right on top of them, as it seemed, the trains of 
the Elevated Road pufifed and rattled in endless 
succession. Just over the iron fretwork peeped a 
little blue shop and a little red shop side by side ; 
elbowing them, a big greenish theatre, and beyond 
that again a great white block of business houses 
with a broad blue band of advertisements across its 
dead side. Emerging above that, another street; 
beyond that, another square block of windows ; a 
clock-tower; then in a shapeless brown jumble the 
city stretches away out to the steely band of the 
Hudson and the pale green hills of New Jersey 
beyond. 

Walk down town towards the business quarter — 
if one part is the business quarter any more than 
another : the impression is everywhere the same. 
The very buildings cry aloud of struggling, almost 
savage, unregulated strength. No street is laid out 
as part of a system, no building as an architectural 



12 NEW YOEK. 

unit iu a street. Nothing is given to beauty : every- 
thing centres in hard utility. It is the outward ex- 
pression of the freest, fiercest individualism. The 
very houses are alive with the instinct of competition, 
and strain each one to overtop its neighbours. See- 
ing it, you can well understand the admiration of an 
American for something ordered and proportioned — 
for the Kue de Eivoli or llegent Street. Fine build- 
ings, of course. New York has in every pure and 
cross-bred style of architecture under the sun. Most 
are suggestions of the Italian Eenaissance, as is the 
simple yet rich and stately Produce Exchange, built 
of terra-cotta and red brick of a warmer, and yet less 
impudent, red than ours. In this lives the spirit of 
the best Florentine models. Fifth Avenue is lined 
with such fine buildings — here rococo, there a fine 
Gothic cathedral, then, again, a hint of Byzantine, or 
a dandy suggestion of Mauresque. 

Indeed, architects here appear far more awake to 
what is beautiful than ours. Working on the old 
models, they seldom fail to impart a suggestion of 
originality. You will hardly find an eyesore like 
the new Admiralty in New York. But too many 
of the best buildings are half wasted for want of 
space and place. The Produce Exchange has nearly 
half its front cut off by a row of steamship offices. 
Many of the most ambitious buildings in narrow 
Wall Street are so high that it would break any 
man's neck to look to tlie top of them. Each for 



FTtOM r.TlOOKLYN BPJDGE. 13 

himself is the motto of New York building, and 
confusion takes the hindmost and the foremost, the 
topmost and the whole jumble. No man could do 
its architecture justice unless he had a pair of eyes 
in the top and the back and both sides of his head, 
with a squint in each of them. 

The city stretches north from Battery Point, between 
the East Eiver and the Hudson, so that it is over thir- 
teen miles long by about three wide. The best way to 
see it as a whole, therefore, is from some such point as 
the Brooklyn Bridge, whence I have seen it at night, 
stretched out in front of a rosy sunset that bathed 
even New York in softness. From that point the low 
red houses sloping up from the waterside looked like 
a carpet for the giants to tread upon. These sky- 
scraping monsters stretch in a jagged backbone along 
the central northern line of the city — mere white 
frames for windows, most of them appear — square, 
hard outlines, four times as high as they are broad, 
with regular rows on rows of casements as close as 
the squares in a chess-board. 

And the whole city plastered and painted and 
papered with advertisements. I do not know that 
New York has much to teach us of the value of 
advertising, but the irregular building of the place, 
with acres of wall looking out everywhere over the 
whole city, affords a fertile field which has been sown 
and cultivated to the last inch. At the very entrance 
of the harbour you are hit in the face by what it 



14 NEW YOT^K. 

would he discourtesy not to presume the largest 
advertisement in the world. " H-0 " is its simple 
legend : the symbol was a touch of home, though I 
have yet to learn what " H-0 " is. There is also a 
product called Castoria — children cry for it, it ap- 
pears ; which seems a poor enough recommendation 
to the harassed parent. But its spirited proprietors 
have bought up every wall in New York that faces 
towards the Brooklyn Bridge. As you stand there 
the red houses seem to be laced with gold letters ; the 
whole city is yelling aloud concerning the virtues of 
Castoria. There are no sky-signs, thank heaven, in 
New York. But except the sky every place that will 
hold an advertisement holds one. And these not the 
finicking, bashful overtures of the effete East; no 
chiropodist worthy the name but keeps at his door a 
modelled human foot the size of a cab-horse ; and 
other trades go and do likewise. 

If I get back unlynched to England, I intend to 
organise a movement for sending all the members of 
the London County Council to New York. If they 
return without learning a good deal as to how a city 
should be organised on the material side, I should 
then send them somewhere else. Take, for example, 
the communications within the city : they are in- 
finitely ahead of anything ever dreamed of in London. 
The place, as I have said, is very long and narrow, 
and it pivots on its southern point at the site of the 
old Dutch Battery. Here is the business quarter — 



THE ELEVATED I^AIL. 15 

Wall Street, the Exchanges, the shipping offices, and 
the like. As New York grows, the business quarter 
naturally grows also, and pushes the residents either 
to Brooklyn or New Jersey over the rivers, or else- 
where to the northward. 

How are they to be kept in touch with their work ? 
The problem is fairly simple, in so far as the suburban 
traffic all runs in one or two main directions ; it is 
difficult for the corresponding reason that there is no 
space available for communications in the scanty 
width of New York that is not wanted for something 
else. The problem is solved, not by burrowing under 
the earth, as we have done in London, but by the 
Elevated Eail. Its iron pillars are planted along any 
convenient street, the girders laid over them, the 
sleepers and rails across the girders, and there you 
have your railway complete. No doubt it spoils the 
streets it runs along to a certain extent — though they 
are mostly wider than ours — but I should much 
wonder if it depreciated their value as business sites. 
And, beyond any doubt, it is infinitely quicker, plea- 
santer, and simpler than our own Underground. I 
could travel on it hours every day for the mere plea- 
sure of the motion and of seeing New York. 

The fare from anywhere to anywhere is 5 cents — 
nominally 2hd., but in New York 5 cents mean what 
a penny is to us. When you travel by it you do not 
have to say where you want to go — a great conveni- 
ence to me, as I nev(>r know. You pay your nickel, 



16 NEW YORK, 

which is 2^d., at the booking-office and get a ticket. 
As the ticket is merely a check, there is no bother 
about punching or collecting it; you drop it in a 
vase as you go out on to the platform. The train 
comes up the moment you have done so. Nomin- 
ally the trains run every minute and a half; in 
reality, I can say quite honestly that I have seen 
a train dozens of times run into a station before 
the train in front of it had got clear of the plat- 
form. They glide on, chasing each other at some 
two hundred yards' distance, till it makes your head 
ache to look at them. Engines and cars alike are 
very light, and stop easily, so that there is never 
an accident — perhaps half-a-dozen killed annually 
out of two hundred million passengers. 

The moment you have landed or got aboard, the 
conductor pulls a string that rings the bell on the 
engine, and off you go. As I sit at my hotel 
window I can time a train in the station : it is 
motionless for just five seconds. The conductor 
never leaves the train, and to prevent anybody from 
getting out while the car is in motion, he can shut 
the iron doors with a single motion of a lever. The 
seats are arranged in part like those of our tram 
cars, in part like those of our railway carriages; 
you can sit which way you please. They are 
cheaply and comfortably cushioned, and the cushions 
have rattan covers — all you want for a short journey. 
So you spin along above New York, now swinging 



THE CABLE CAR. 17 

round a sharp corner apparently into somebody's 
first-floor windows, and then rattling between serried 
lines of tradesmen's show-rooms. Who can wonder 
that with so cheap and quick and easy a means of 
travel the Manhattan Company carries nearly two 
hundred and fifty million people a-year, and makes 
an annual profit of a million dollars ? It deserves it. 
If the Elevated Eailway is off your route, you may 
prefer the cable car. Here, again, you pay no more 
than 5 cents, whether you go a hundred yards or 
three miles ; naturally this means simplification of 
organisation, and therewith saving of expense. I 
need not describe the cable cars, nor yet the electric 
tramways, even if I understood them. We have 
them in England, though, of course, not in London. 
And then there is our old friend the horse. I dare 
not say how many tramway lines run North and 
South in New York, or how many subsidiary lines 
meet them East and West. On to many of the 
last you can be transferred from the trunk lines, and 
thus travel in two or even three trams, all for your 
original 5 cents. Then, still for the same benef- 
icent nickel, and sometimes for even three or two 
cents, or even only one, you have the choice of 
about thirty ferries to take you to Brooklyn or 
Jersey City or Staten Island, or anywhere. The 
giant Suspension Bridge you can cross free, if you 
like, by a promenade in the middle of it; if you 
don't, you can take the cable railway on each side 

B 



18 NEW YORK. 

of the footway for three cents, or drive over in a 
hansom by the waggon-track on each side of that. 
It is worth all the money, not only for the gro- 
tesquely magnificent view, but for the i^leasure of 
seeing so well- arranged and practical a means of 
popular transport. 

The streets of New York, as most people know, 
are named only in the older Southern quarter. In 
the newer parts they go by numbers. The Avenues 
— First, Second, and the like — run North and South, 
beainnins; on the East side. The streets run East 
and West, beginning from the South. To the Euro- 
pean mind this device is at first hateful. What 
possible individuality can you associate with Sixty- 
ninth Street? But after two days you begin to 
appreciate it. For you have only to know the ad- 
dress of any place and you know not only exactly 
the direction, but also exactly how far you have 
to go. Of numberless other material and mechani- 
cal conveniences, which we might have and ought 
to have and do not have in London, I must speak 
some other time when I have more paper to speak 
on. And yet high authorities say that New York 
is the worst governed city in the Union. True, 
the pavements are atrocious, and when it has been 
raining, even the Sardanapalus luxury of the Wal- 
dorf is besmirched with a deposit of mud in your 
bath. Also the place is almost worse lighted than 
London. For the explanation of all this I hear 



PRACTICAL GENIUS. 19 

already dark tales of municipal corruption almost 
incredible to the simple Briton. It is true, again, 
that the magnificent system of communications owes 
little enough to municipal support. It is the true- 
born creation of American enterprise and of the 
only truly practical genius that just adapts means 
to ends and no more. Yet, take it all together, 
the County Councillor has still something to learn 
from New York. And, if it is the worst governed 
city, I, for one, could make myself very fairly com- 
fortable in the best. 



20 



III. 



WHERE NEW YORK LIVES. 

New York, September 8. 

Where do the people of New York live ? Where, you 
will ask, but in New York ? Quite wrong. New York, 
squeezed in between the Hudson and the East Eiver, 
is far too narrow for a tithe of those who do business 
there to find habitations in the city. Moreover, at 
the point where land might begin to be far enough 
removed from the heart of the city for people of not 
quite unlimited means to live, there comes Central 
Park, taking up about a quarter of the available space, 
and leaving only a little strip on either side. So the 
man who works in New York must either retreat 
even further North, and descend each day down the 
tongue of Manhattan Island to his work, or else he 
must get over one of the rivers into Long Island or 
New Jersey. 

If he chooses the first evil, he can either go North 
of the Harlem Eiver and live in a house, or remain 
below it and live in a flat. The Eiver is reached at 



THE SUBURBS. 21 

Hundred and Fifty-Fifth Street : all New York South 
of this is on Manhattan Island. Though this is called 
an island it is really a peninsula ; that is to say, the 
Harlem Eiver is a comparatively practicable stream. 
It is possible to run bridges over it, whereas the con- 
nection across the Hudson with New Jersey must at 
present be made entirely by ferries, and that with Long 
Island very largely so. North of Manhattan Island 
the suburbs stretch away almost endlessly. The 
eastern part of them is called the Annexed District. 
This is served by an extension of the Elevated Eailroad 
and by the New York Central. The West side con- 
nects with the Elevated Railroad, which ends at 
Hundred and Fifty-Fifth Street, by the New York 
and Northern Eailroad. And beyond the continuous 
line of houses from Battery Point, the southernmost 
limit of the city, to the northern suburbs stretches 
town on town, village on village, almost endlessly, 
each sending in its daily contingent to the huge dollar- 
hunt of New York. 

Suppose you want to live nearer your work — say 
within half an hour or so — then you must live in a 
fiat. Land is too scarce to allow a whole house South 
of the Harlem to any man far short of his million. 
Flats are of every kind and of every price. There 
are flats to which the working man and junior clerk 
can aspire without presumption, and flats which the 
millionaire need not despise. The cheapest run to 
about nineteen or twenty dollars a -month. This 



22 WHERE NEW YORK LIVES. 

means nearly £50 a-year, which seems a back-breaking 
rent for the most prosperous mechanic to pay. Tor 
this he will get four rooms, a kitchen with gas-range 
and hot water laid on from the basement, a bedroom, 
a dining-room, and a parlour. The rooms are very 
small, they generally look out at a dark courtyard, and 
often there is only one front door and a common hall 
— say, rather, a narrow passage — between two of them. 
Your neighbour may be an Italian costermonger or a 
Polish-Jewish vendor of old clothes. In any case he 
is almost sure to be noisy, while the court will be 
filled with clothes drying and the smell of every un- 
savoury kind of cooking in the world. In summer court 
and staircase, front steps and streets, will swarm with 
squalling children. Yet, take it all round, there are 
advantages which no mechanic in England is likely to 
find. The sanitary, heating, and lighting arrangements 
are better, the stairs and halls are carpeted, the whole 
place is decorated, not magnificently, but at least with 
an attempt at grace and comfort. The Englishman 
will often be more comfortable, but he will hardly find 
a dwelling with such an air of social self-respect — 
at any rate, while it is new and unoccupied. You will 
answer that the English mechanic would never dream 
of paying £50 a-year in rent. Probably not. But 
then the New York mechanic can afford it out of his 
wages, and the Englishman cannot. To the under- 
clerk such flats as these offer themselves as a cheap 
and handy abode. In New York there is none of the 



RENT. 23 

foolish convention that compels the clerk with a pound 
a-week to live in a more expensive house than the 
working man with two. This is no douht a blessing, 
but it has its reverse side. If the carpet and the gilt 
decorations stimulate social self-respect in the working 
man, the cabbage-water and the brats on the doorstep 
tend to destroy it in the clerk. 

Moving upwards, you can get for eighty dollars 
a-month, or nearly £200 a-year, very much the same 
sort of flat in the same sort of quarter as you would 
get for half the money in London. By a curious ex- 
ception to the usual excellence of American house- 
fittings, some of these are being built without either 
lift or electric light, though all have hot water laid on 
from below. From the eighty-dollar flat you can 
advance with your income — or without it if you like 
— to almost any price. I have seen an apartment at 
£480 a-year, and one at £520. In London you would 
expect a palace for the money ; in New York you get 
certainly a most commodious and charming flat, but 
still an unmistakable flat. The 480-pounder was as 
conveniently arranged and fitted and as elegantly 
decorated as any flat could well be. Yet, all said and 
done, it contained only eight rooms, and those neither 
very large nor very lofty. 

And who lives in a flat that costs £500 a-year ? A 
Londoner who should admit that he had taken such 
might almost as well join a supper club at once ; his 
respectability would be mortally wounded in any case. 



24 WHERE NEW YORK LIVES. 

But in New York, the stranger learns with amazement, 
a man will often take such an abode whose income is 
but double his rent all told. It sounds incredible ; 
but in New York almost everybody lives above his 
income, and especially lays out his money, or his 
credit, in directions where there is most swagger to be 
got for it. Women, many people will tell you, are 
especial offenders. While the husband works and 
worries himself into his grave at forty, many women, 
out of sheer ostentation, will hire a resplendent fiat to 
live in, even though there be next to nothing left to 
live on after the rent is paid. But then there is always 
an alternative policy — not to pay. There is a class of 
people in New York who appear to eke out a pre- 
carious subsistence by living rent-free in flats. When 
the first month is out and the first rent is due, they 
explain to the landlord that they cannot pay because 
they have no money. They then depart and put in a 
month in a new flat, and so on, at the rate of twelve 
annually for ever. 

In one way this existence hits the very ideal of the 
New Yorker. About a month in one habitation is 
just about as much as suits him. Compare the lim- 
pet Englishman and the gad-about American in this 
respect. Their respective stability is very significant. 
In London you cannot easily get a shorter lease of a 
flat than seven years ; in New York it is a bitter hard- 
ship to be tied down to as much as one. Other griev- 
ances of the flat-dweller are the tyranny of the janitor. 



THE COMMUTER. 25 

who is allowed to make rules for the house at his own 
pleasure — another fact very illustrative of democratic, 
happy-go-lucky America — and the fact that they are 
not allowed to have any children. Anybody who has 
lived in a flat can fully understand the objection to 
this latter vice. But the Americans are too prone to 
be childless as it is, and anything which discourages 
increase and multiplication is almost a danger to 
society. 

The alternative to life in a flat is to become a com- 
muter and live across one of the rivers. A commuter 
is the American for season-ticket holder ; he gets a 
combination ticket carrying him across the ferry and 
then by railway to his house. He is despised by the 
New Yorker ; the comic papers are never tired of 
representing him starting out for Lonelyville with a 
huge bundle of town-bought provisions in his hand. 
The reason for this contempt is not uninstructive. In 
London the word suburban is sometimes used in 
derision ; it is then meant to imply narrow-mindedness, 
dulness, smug respectability. But the basis of scorn 
for the commuter is no supposed defect of intellectual 
elevation ; it rests — need the fundamental factor be 
invoked ? — on the dollar. The commuter earns his 
money in New York, and he spends it in New Jersey ; 
that is his crime. True, the commuter might answer 
that it is hardly logical to reprobate him for buying 
his dinner in New Jersey, and at the same time to 
laugh at him for carrying it home from New York. 



26 WHERE NEW YORK LIVES. 

But iu the contest of wits the commuter has little 
spirit left to answer anything. 

The nearer suburbs are Brooklyn, Jersey City, and 
Hoboken, which are mainly occupied by working 
men. They stand for Southwark and Battersea, 
except that to Jersey City and Hoboken you have to 
cross the river in heavy ferry-boats, built to carry 
vehicles as well as people, which take about a quarter 
of an hour in the journey. In winter, when fog is 
thick and rivers are choked with ice, this sometimes 
lengthens to an hour. If you live further out, you 
have to add this hour to your railway journey. In 
the suburban districts houses are cheaper than in 
New York ; you can actually get a small one for £75 
a-year, and a very good one for £200. Most people 
living in New Jersey borrow money on mortgage from 
the loan associations and build their own houses. 

In this way there has been formed at Orange, about 
a dozen miles out, a park of idyllic suburban villas. 
You buy your land and put up your house, the Com- 
pany that owns the park taking care that it is up to 
the general standard of elegance. You have your own 
lawn, and the use of miles of most delightful wooded 
hill and dale. Its impression of rusticity without 
boorishness is altogether adorable. But Orange is 
not for everybody. And even Orange you approach 
through miles of unreclaimed grey swamp — a soulless 
desert but for certain manure-works, which drench 
the whole State with murky, stinking fumes. To get 



THE CAUSE OF CORRUPTION. 27 

to your work you may, like enough, have to change 
from train to ferry, ferry to elevated rail, elevated to 
tram car, and then have a bit of a walk at the end. 
It is a toss up whether this will take you one hour 
or three. All is done that man can do to perfect the 
communications. But the geographical situation of 
Manhattan Island remains. 

The obvious deduction from all this is, that if you 
are going to live in New York it is well first to take 
the precaution of being a millionaire. But there is 
also another more general result of the geographical 
position. New York, as I said, is held by Americans 
to be the worst governed city in the Union, and it is 
all the fault of Manhattan Island. With a popula- 
tion either passing nomadically from flat to flat or 
else settling many miles outside the city limits, it is 
very difficult to get together any steady body of civic 
opinion. The result is that municipal government 
has been left to ward politicians of the Tammany 
class, to their own comfort and that of their friends. 
The amount squandered on public works of no pviblic 
utility is said to be enormous. Tammany made it a 
practice to buy in the dearest market with the rate- 
payers' money and take a commission. 

Until this year the state of education in New York 
was similarly deplorable. I am told that popular 
education is not very much to boast of anywhere in 
the States, except perhaps in Boston. The curriculum, 
it appears, is too wide, filling children's heads with all 



28 WHERE NEW YORK LIVES. 

sorts of undigested knowledge, but failing of the 
mental discipline which comes of grinding away at 
any subject — no matter how useless on paper — until 
it is mastered. In New York, besides, the old system 
put a premium on corruption and resultant incapacity. 
The schools were organised in districts, with a local 
body in command of the schools of each. Now local 
self-government is the salvation of the world, so long 
as the local unit of self-government is not too small. 
When it becomes small enough to be a family party, 
then corruption comes and inefficiency. In New York 
the smallness of the district turned the schools into 
the hands of the local bosses. The school-teachers 
were drawn mainly from the daughters and the 
maiden aunts of the leaders of Tammany Hall, and 
they were not in all cases the best that could be 
found. But in July of this year New York changed 
all that. There is now an efficient and zealous cen- 
tral authority, with wide powers over all the schools. 
And this example of purification is being plenteously 
followed in other departments. From all I hear the 
worst days of political corruption in the States are 
over. But for all that, the problem of local govern- 
ment must always be difficult in New York, because 
it will always be difficult to put your finger at any 
moment on the New Yorker. 



29 



IV. 



THE DOLLAR. 



New York, September 9. 

The dollar, like so many of the world's greatest, inspires 
at first sight interest, but hardly affection. From a 
casual study of the monetary controversy now raging 
in this country, I had been led to expect that the 
dollar was a gold dollar, and that Mr Bryan wanted 
to turn it into silver. It cannot be too widely known 
that the dollar as he is spent is neither gold nor 
silver ; he is a piece of paper. Not only so, but often 
a very worn and dirty piece of paper at that. It is 
astonishing how a dollar will age in three or four 
years. True, the paper reflects the greatest credit on 
its inventor; it never tears — though perhaps this is 
because no strong man ever really tries to tear it — 
still, it is but a piece of paper after all. It bears on 
its weather-beaten face an inscription to the effect 
that there has been deposited in the Treasury of the 
United States one silver dollar, which will be paid to 
the bearer on demand. Others of the breed merely 



30 THE DOLLAR. 

assert that the United States of America will pay 
one dollar, without specifying its material. The 
mysterious philanthropist who deposited the silver 
dollar apparently prefers to remain anonymous ; while 
where or how you cash it is left equally dark. It 
must certainly be somewhere in Washington, whence 
the United States of America date their promise, but 
the American Eagle is too old a bird to give any 
more precise address. The dollar, so far as my 
experience goes, is always illustrated, usually with 
a vignette photograph of some eminent citizen or 
other, occasionally also with scenes from the life of 
Columbus or some other appropriate subject. This 
gives an resthetic as well as a commercial interest to 
the dollar, which cannot be too highly prized. Its 
nominal value is 4s. 2d. 

I say nominal value, partly because nobody in this 
country seems to be quite sure just now what the 
value of a dollar is, still less what it ought to be, 
and partly for more personal reasons. It is a fact 
well known to the practical traveller, though curiously 
overlooked by political economists, that the expense 
of living in a country is regulated by its unit of 
currency. Thus if you take the Orient Express from 
Paris to Vienna, your rate of living doubles itself on 
the way. In Paris the franc is the unit. When you 
get into Germany it is the mark ; you therefore spend 
twelve pence where before you only spent ten. In 
Austria you enter the dominion of the florin, and 



PKACTICAL HINTS FOR SPENDING MONEY. 31 

gaily spend Is. 8d. under the impression that it is a 
mark, and therefore a franc. Now, as the dollar, like 
the franc, mark, and florin, is divided into one hundred 
integral parts — to wit, cents — the first impulse of the 
untutored English mind is to regard a dollar as a 
shilling and spend it accordingly. Happily, however, 
the dollar, being made of paper, also offers some points 
of analogy to the £5 note. To break it up and to 
receive only mere coin as change is something of the 
same solemn and irredeemable sacrifice. By force of 
this analogy I have now brought myself to regard all 
dollars, or notes equivalent to multiples of a dollar, as 
indifferently worth £5. But when once the dollar is 
broken, this saving influence abandons me ; half- 
dollars and quarters — in the eyes of heaven florins 
and shillings — can only be regarded as sixpences, or 
half-francs, and as threepenny-bits. So the dime — 
ten cents — becomes a sort of penny, and the five- 
cent nickel a halfpenny. As for the cent, it is 
a mere irresponsible piece of childishness like the 
farthing. The fact that the Americans will produce 
indispensable newspapers for only one cent, which in 
some respects I feel strongly worthy of admiration, 
yet adds a complication to life which it might well 
spare. 

All this may be called the profane or non-political 
view of the dollar. But just now the fortunes of that 
always necessary and sometimes harmless piece of 
paper constitute the one subject of interest for what 



32 THE DOLLAE. 

— on brief acquaintance, and with the greatest respect 
for Lombard Street and adjacent parts — I should be 
inclined to call the keenest business people of the 
world. Is the dollar to be silver as well as gold ? 
Is the silver dollar to be monetised, or re-monetised, 
or constituted as primary or redemption money, or 
whatever else you like to call it ? That, as everybody 
now knows, is the Chicago platform, and, on this 
issue, Mr Bryan and his Democratic-Populist party 
— Popocrats they are pleasantly called here — stand 
or fall. It is the one and only issue of the forth- 
coming election, just as Home Eule was our one and 
only issue in 1886. Protection is not in it, and that 
though Mr M'Kinley is a candidate. His party had, 
indeed, got up a little pamphlet entitled 'How 
M'Kinley is Hated in England,' on which it was 
hoped he would ride triumphant into the Presidential 
chair. But, in the dollar's hour of danger, even to be 
hated in England has sunk to be a secondary recom- 
mendation. Out of twenty-four pamphlets actually 
issued by the Ptcpublican party up to now, nineteen 
deal with the currency question, and only a beggarly 
three with Protection. In any case, even supposing 
Mr M'Kinley wins hands down, any new M'Kinley 
Bill is like to be made impossible by the opposition 
of the Democratic Senate, until the chances of human 
life and the corruption of the human pocket — this is 
the way an American himself put it to me — leaven 
that body into Eepublicanism again. Hence you will 



THE CASE FOR SILVER. 33 

find strong Democrats, sworn foes of Protection, as 
hot for M'Kinley — or, more truly, as hot against 
Bryan — as the keenest Republican. Night and day 
in every newspaper, in every cafu, in every street 
car, it is the dollar, and the dollar alone, whose fate 
is discussed and determined. 

It is difficult for me to do justice to the Silver 
party, for the simple reason that, being just landed 
in the heart of the Gold country, I can hardly find 
a man who will go further than such pointed but un- 
enlightening expressions of opinion as " repudiators," 
" thieves," " liars," and the like. It is almost an 
insult to ask a New Yorker even to state the case 
for Silver. I was able, however, to get a summary of 
the party's argument from Mr William P. St John, 
treasurer of the National Democratic organisation — 
a gentleman, moreover, who has proved his financial 
capabilities in an important business position here, 
and his disinterestedness in resigning this rather 
than his convictions as to the currency. The measure 
advocated by Mr Bryan and his friends is that any 
man owning silver bullion may have it coined into 
dollars at the ratio of 16 parts by weight of silver 
to one of gold — 371"25 grains in the silver dollar 
to be equal to 23"22 grains in the gold. The present 
market ratio is approximately 32 to 1, so that this 
means that the State is to double the value of the 
silver dollar as against that of silver bullion. The 
effect of this, it is plain, will be to depreciate the 

G 



G 



34 THE DOLI.AK. 

value of money as against conimodiLies. When the 
number of dollars in circulation is small, their value 
in goods is high. When it is large, their value in 
goods is low: conversely, the value of goods in dollars 
is high. A contracted currency involves low prices ; 
an expanded one, high prices. The enormous increase 
in the number of dollars in circulation resultant upon 
the free coinage of silver would therefore bring high 
prices for agricultural products, a greater demand in 
agricultural districts for manufactured goods, freer 
employment of labour, higher wages, and finally, gain 
to the very banker in an increased demand for money 
for investment both in agriculture and manufacture. 
In two words — universal prosperity. 

It is not apprehended by my authority that this 
doubling of the leqal value of silver will lead either 
to an inrush of silver from abroad or to an outrush 
of gold from the United States. European silver 
money, he points out, is overvalued in gold, as coni- 
j)ared with the silver of the United States, from 3 
to 7 per cent, while silverware carries the additional 
value of the labour expended upon it. As to the 
East, the course of silver is ever eastward, not west- 
ward ; and especially eastward to British India. As 
to the value of gold, Mr St John contends that only 
from one-fortieth to one-sixtieth part of the gold in 
the United States is in actual circulation. The rest 
is in the Treasury — where it will stay, since the 



EXPORT AND IMPORT. 35 

Treasury has the option of redeeming notes in 
silver — and in the banks, as the undisturbed portion 
of their reserves against their liabilities — where it 
also will stay. 

Any momentary tendency to cause a premium on 
gold dollars will tend to increase exports and diminish 
imports by increasing the net return to the exporter 
from the sale of his gold bill of exchange, and by 
adding to the cost of the bill of exchange with which 
the importer pays for his foreign goods. Export will 
thus increase and import diminish, until the former 
overtop the latter. Hence, more manufacturing in 
America, more wages, more market for home products. 
Secondly, the balance of export over import means 
that Europe must settle with the States in money. 
Europe will settle in gold rather than lose o to 7 per 
cent on her overvalued silver coin. With foreign 
gold coming in, the silver dollar and gold dollar be- 
come exactly of equal worth in the States as bullion. 
The ratio of 16 to 1 by weight is permanently estab- 
lished as the relative value of the two metals, coined 
or uncoined. 

Plainly there is no repudiation in this — no paying 
of a two-dollar debt with a single dollar. It means 
simply raising the value of the silver dollar and lower- 
ing that of the gold dollar by one operation. Such 
a project is honest enough, if only it is possible. That 
it is possible no man else that I have spoken with will 



36 THE POT/LAK. 

agree. My personal opinion is worth nothing; but 
seeing that, large as are the United States, the world 
is larger, I do not understand how the States can 
set up an arbitrary ratio between the precious metals 
all for themselves. However, there is the silver 
theory officially stated as the best financial authority 
states it. That the supporters of Mr Bryan hold 
these views as a body, or even understand them, I 
am far from asserting. The Western miner and mine- 
owner anticipate coining their silver into dollars at 
double its present value. The Western farmer ex- 
pects to halve his debts by paying them, or continu- 
ing to owe them, on the silver basis, though this will 
be no halving if the bullion value of the silver dollar 
is to equal that of the gold. As for the most of Mr 
Bryan's supporters, they are probably veteran Demo- 
crats, who find it impossible to declare themselves 
against the nominations made regularly and formally 
by a convention of their whole party. " If a plaster 
Indian from outside a cigar - store were regularly 
nominated," said a cynic, "these chaps would vote 
for him." 

For the rest, the position was summed up to me 
by a very young man I met the other night at dinner. 
"They're hungry," he said. "What's the good of 
talking sound finance to a man when he's hungry? 
Feed him first, and then he'll listen. They haven't 
forgotten Homestead, and they're sore. They know 



A STATESMAN. 37 

that they can't be worse off than they are, and so they 
go in for any change. If it's not free silver, it'll be 
something else. If it's not this time, it'll be next. 
And they're quite right." If this is true, the question 
of this election is of a sort that goes deeper than 
argumentations of political economy. I almost think 
that very young man is the first American statesman 
I have met. 



38 



V. 



TJIR U.S.N. 



New Yor.K, ScpUmhrr 10. 

Beoadway cable car, 5 cents ; Brooklyn Bridge cable 
railroad, 3 cents ; Brooklyn electric tramway, 5 cents 
— five miles, I should say, of quick and easy travel- 
ling for the American equivalent of about 3d. brought 
me to where the Brooklyn Navy Yard sweltered 
under at least a subtropical sun. Presently I was 
inside a long two-storeyed wooden building, all cool 
boarding and ventilation, and was shaking hands with 
a spare, working-like figure in a black-braided blue 
undress uniform. It needed no words to say that 
here was a man who understood his duty, and did it. 
" I know you won't tell me all you can ; please 
tell me all you may," and I plunged into questions 
about the three new first-class battleships which the 
United States are just giving out to contract. It 
appears that the United States, like all other Powers 
in the world, are building their newest battleships 
after our own models. The tln^ee vessels are armed. 



NKW P.ATTLKSIITPS. 39 

in sharp departure from earlier types, very similarly 
to our own Majestic — four big 13-inch guns, in pairs 
forward and aft, and a dozen 6-inch quick-firers be- 
tween. " (^ur officers must have powerful batteries," 
said my informant ; " it's the tradition of our service." 
"Yes," I said, reflecting on some occasions when our 
own ships have had cause to note the fact. " And 
so they will have the guns," he went on, " whether 
they've the men to work them or the ammunition to 
serve them." The displacement of the new ships is 
to be about 12,000 tons; the armour much heavier 
than the Majesties ; the speed less — not over sixteen 
knots an hour apparently ; and the draught of water 
also much less. " We have made great efforts," said 
my host, " to keep down the draught of our ships, 
though up to now we haven't always succeeded as 
well as we wanted to. Your Majestic and lioi/al 
Sovereign would be almost useless on our coasts. 
They could get into New York and the Chesapeake and 
into Boston at high water, but hardly anywhere else." 
Of the three battleships — which will make nine 
most powerful vessels of this type in the United 
States Navy — my informant predicted, doubtless 
knew, that one would be l)uilt at San Francisco. 
" I suppose that when she's finished she will be 
brought round to the Atlantic ? " I hazarded. " No," 
he said ; " it is our policy to gather ships on the 
Pacific coast. The Oregon" — a very fine first-class 
ship completed last year — " was kept in the Pacific." 



40 THE U.S.N. 

" But that splits up your force very much." " Yes," 
he replied, "but it is our policy. You see we have 
wanted a strong fleet there once or twice lately, and 
we haven't had it." 

"As in Chili, for instance," said I, diplomatically 
ignoring our occupation of Corinto in Nicaragua. 
"That would be serious for us in the Pacific if we 
came to war." "Well, I suppose you would have a 
great many ships to bring against us there too." So 
we should ; but quite certainly nothing east of Suez 
fit to tackle the Oregon or the monster now pro- 
jected. How good exactly the American battleships 
are it is difficult for anybody but their officers to 
say. Till now they have been built on independent 
American models, with little heed to the practice of 
Europe. Certainly their gun-power is great, and they 
are splendidly protected. There is hardly a gun 
afloat which, even in theory, could pierce their 
thickest armour. On the other hand, the coal-supply 
seems faultily disposed, while their performances at 
sea indicate either that their officers have yet to 
learn their ways or that they are not at their best 
in heavy weather. 

I asked my authority why, considering the advan- 
tage to which torpedo-boats could be used in de- 
fending the shallow inlets of the Eastern coast of 
this country, the Navy Department had built so few. 
They have, indeed, built, or are just giving out to 
contract, a couple of dozen or so ; but more than half 



CONORESS AND ITS MONEY. 41 

of these are big sea-going boats, intended as much to 
take part in a fleet action at sea as for coast and 
harbour defence. " Well," he said, " our people would 
always be ready to spend money for coast - defence. 
It has been the policy of the Naval Department to 
spend the money voted by Congress on sea -going 

ships " He paused. "While Congress is in the 

humour, knowing that it will always find the money 
for torpedo-boats," I broke in impertinently. He 
smiled. 

Congress until lately has been the nightmare of the 
United States Navy, as the Eeichstag is of the German. 
Congress is extremely desirous of getting a first-class 
article for its money, but not equally anxious to pay 
for its article. My entertainer gave a curious instance 
of this. The new armoured cruiser Brooklyn has 
recently been through her trials. She is a very fast 
boat undeniably, and the newspapers duly proclaimed 
her the fastest in the world. But I observed that the 
weight at which she was tried was a thousand tons 
less than her working displacement will be — which is 
equivalent to backing a colt for the Derby because 
he could win it at eight stone. I asked him why his 
Department followed the inept custom of our own 
Admiralty in the giving out of trials that are not 
trials. "Well," he said, "the explanation is really 
simple. If the ship made over a certain speed the 
contractors were to get a premium. If they had built 
the ship Congress wanted for the price Congress paid, 



42 TITF, TT.ft.N. 

they'd have made a considerable loss on it. So the 
ship was tried light so that they should get their 
full premium ; then the job paid them." Very wonder- 
ful, we agreed, are the ways of Governments. But if 
Mr M'Kinley is elected, the navy looks forward to 
generous supplies and good administration. In Eng- 
land Mr Cleveland has got all the credit for Civil 
Service reform ; but the navy dates its better state 
from the term of Mr Harrison, and looks to Mr 
M'Kinley to maintain the Eepublican tradition. 

Beyond question there are people here, and in- 
fluential people, who aspire to make the United 
States a leading — not to say the leading — naval 
Power. And it only needs a moment's thought upon 
the boundless resources and the mechanical genius and 
energy of this country to realise that, if this idea 
becomes general, it will need a very rich nation, and 
a very determined nation, to keep step with it. 

" We believe in England," I continued, " that the 
personal branch of your navy is the weakest." " The 
men are improving," was the reply. " A great many 
of them re-engage after their three years, and going 
about this yard and the ships, as I do, I can see the 
improvement very plainly. But the officers are too 
old. Their experience is all of the wooden ships, and 
they have not their heart in the new navy. But they 
block promotion for the others. Now my contem- 
poraries in the service " — he may have been about 
thirty-five — " are all lieutenants, and likely to rcMiinin 



SENTIMENT AND CORRUPTION. 43 

SO fifteen or twenty years. You see, the senior men 
all fongbt in the war, and have a great deal of in- 
fluence, and they won't budge." 

Thence the talk drifted to the malign influence of 
the politician. We smiled together over the fact that 
the Hartford, Admiral Farragut's old flagship, which 
has been obsolete any time these forty years, has been 
fitted with new quick-firing guns, whose strong recoil 
would tear her venerable wooden body to pieces if she 
ever tried to use them. " The money might as well 
have been thrown overboard," he said ; " but that's 
democracy, with its sentiment." But till lately there 
were worse things than sentiment. " Before I came 
here," he went on, " I was stationed at a yard where 
the artificers were regularly nominated as each new 
Government came in, by their political clubs. I my- 
self, because I never vote or take any part in politics, 
had applications made to remove me from my post 
under both Democratic and Eepublican Governments, 
on the ground that I was on the other side. But I 
resolved to have no political nomination of workmen, 
and did what I could to get the best men because they 
were the best. So I was hauled up to Washington. 
' This'll never do,' said the Secretary. ' If it doesn't 
do my way,' I said, ' it'll liavo to do without me.' 
' Young man,' said the Secretary, ' go back and do 
your duty! ' A Minister," explained my friend, broad- 
mindedly, " is only too glad when he can get an excuse 
for stiffening his back." 



44 TTTK TT.S.N. 

" It seems to me about your Admiralty," lie went 
on, "that it's too much in the hands of commercial 
people." " Such as contractors ? " " Yes. Why else, 
for instance, did your navy keep using compound 
armour, when everybody else knew it was not the best 
article in the market ? You nearly made us use it, 
but we had a trial, and it was smashed to pieces. 
Why are you so often behindhand with new improve- 
ments, unless it's to save the contractors the expense 
of new plant ? Now, with us, although a law may be 
absolutely corrupt, a simple steal, it will always be 
executed with absolute honesty. With you it seems 
the other way about." With Mr Goschen refusing to 
lay down new battleships for fear of inconveniencing 
contractors, who are unable or unwilling to set up the 
plant for making modern armour-plates, I am afraid it 
looks as if there is some ground for this comparison. 

" While we're talking of England," he added, " I am 
glad to have the opportunity of saying that your Ad- 
miralty has always given us every help and facility. 
For instance, until quite lately you always used to 
train a couple of students for us at Greenwich, though 
this privilege was really intended only for countries 
that had warships built in Great Britain. Sometimes 
our Government has repaid you with scant courtesy 
— for instance, they once sent two students to England 
without even saying they were coming. But in the 
service we recognise that you have helped us very 
much." 



DISCIPLINE ? 45 

Thus we discoursed as we picked our way over 
wires and rails and scrap-heaps, under cranes, through 
buzzing machine-shops, and across the gangways of 
ships. There was the low, black ram, the Katahdin, 
which fell short of her contract speed on trial, but 
was nevertheless accepted in the cause of Venezuela. 
" And what are you going to do with her, now you've 
got her?" I asked. "Incubus," he replied tersely. 
There were also the armoured monitors Puritan and 
Terror, with pairs of long, heavy guns thrust out of 
steel turrets. These are very low in the water, but 
I was told they are quite equal to a voyage to the 
West Indies, or even to South America. Also there 
was " cruiser Bancroft" as the newspapers affection- 
ately call her — a fat little boat, with four 4 -inch 
quick-firers — which is sailing to-morrow for Con- 
stantinople, in flat defiance of the Monroe doctrine. 
The rest of the fleet was where it should be — man- 
oeuvring at sea. Such seamen as I saw looked active 
and resolute fellows, as they are bound to be. Perhaps 
it was prejudice, but I seemed to miss something of 
the elastic smartness and cheery alertness that make 
our own bluejacket the idol of his countrymen. The 
truth is that the free citizen of the United States does 
not take kindly to discipline. Brought up from baby- 
hood to hold himself as good as, or a shade better 
than, anybody else in the world, he hardly sees at first 
why his officers should order him, any more than he 
should order them. I have heard, from another source, 



46 THE U.S.N. 

that the officers of American warships dare not show 
themselves below deck at night. Tliis may be an 
exaggeration, yet it is in the services that one would 
expect to see the reverse side of American self- 
reliance, otherwise so admirable. But as I took 
reluctant leave of my hospitable entertainer, and 
wandered out into scorching Brooklyn, I reflected 
that here is a navy growing up on which; with the 
friendliest will in the world, our own will have hence- 
forth to keep a wide open eye. 



47 



VI. 



iJUiSTUK. 



Boston, September 13. 

I HAD not been so hot since August 1893. Veteran 
New Yorkers, who had passed through the tremendous 
ordeal of a month ago, hurried about down-town, even 
they, with brows beaded — nay, embroidered — with 
sweat. Of an evening crowds blocked Madison Square, 
and gasped for air as fishes for water ; the bhxre of the 
band was a sirocco in itself. When it became too hot 
to sleep it became too hot to stay. New York, above 
all cities, is not the place for the insomniac. I have 
mentioned, with premature enthusiasm, the fact that 
the Elevated Eailway runs trains every quarter of an 
hour all nidit. I did not mention — what I then did 
not know — that brakes squeak and groan, engines puff, 
carriages rumble, cable cars hum, gongs ring, hoofs 
clatter, wheels rattle, and sirens bellow from the Bay 
— all with a stentorian insistence by night which they 
did not seem to possess by day. Moreover, they will 
not fuse into a single soothing roar, like London's ; 



48 BOSTON. 

each egotistical sound compels the brain to recognise 
it apart from all the rest. " That's a cable car," says 
the brain ; " and that's an elevated train ; and that 
must be a steamer in the Bay " ; and while the brain 
is on this sort of treadmill it is hopeless to wait for 
sleep. 

So I turned my back on this splendid spectacle of 
restless energy to find a spot less splendid and more 
restful. Five hours in a drawing-room easy-chair, 
with smoking-room ditto to change into at will, and a 
table laid in the car for lunch, brought me to Boston. 
That cost seven dollars — the same sum to a sixpence 
as the London and North-Western charge from Liver- 
pool without the easy -chair, or the change to the 
smoking-car, or the luncheon-table. No trouble to see 
your luggage put in by a porter : you take it to a 
counter in the station, and get a check for it by way 
of receipt. No trouble at the other end: an agent 
takes your check before you arrive, and the luggage is 
delivered at your hotel. True, this costs a little extra, 
but is it not worth it ? If you like you can even get 
a ticket and pay for your cab before you leave the 
train. From all of which considerations it appears 
that we have not yet learned the A B C of railway 
travelling in England. The railway magnates here are 
abused as monopolists who milk the public to make 
enormous fortunes for themselves, and I doubt not 
that they do. Only if in the process of milking and 
making they can still afford to let the public have an 



A GERMAN ASPECT. 49 

article far superior to ours at nearly the same price — 
that in a country, mind you, where most other things 
are a deal more expensive — then what can be wrong 
with our own system at home ? 

The villages of New England, as seen from the 
railway, are no more to be mistaken for those of Old 
England than is New York for an English town. Both 
wear a German rather than an English face. In the 
city the painted houses, their rows of windows as tall 
as the rooms they lighten, fronted by ironwork bal- 
conies, and flanked by lathed shutters, could hardly be 
English ; the very type in which the advertisements 
are printed has a Continental air. Along Broadway 
two names out of three are German, and every other 
one of the two German-Jewish. In the country all 
the houses are of wood boards, painted white or light 
yellow or buff for the most part, with shutters and 
window-frames picked out in brown or green. To the 
English eye they are oddly like pictures on the lid of 
a German box of toys. 

The country looks a hard one to squeeze a living 
out of. I saw a few brown stocks and dishevelled 
fields of maize, and some stock at pasture ; but not 
much. Most of it is woodland. Here and there a 
patch of flame -coloured fern spoke of the touch of 
autumn, or a green tree put forth a sudden branch as 
red as blood. But the telling feature of the land- 
scape was once more its advertisements. Across the 
meadows, down the curling reaches of the rivers, from 

D 



50 BOSTON. 

every gap in the woods, peejied tlie i)eisistent iiitinia- 
tion that sarsapariUa makes the weak strong, and that 
chihlren ery for Castoria. Every rock ofany size and 
tlatness was Uazoned with these same great trutlis. 
"Whether we learned it from America, or America 
from us, I do not know. Ihit I feel that I too shall 
cry for Castoria if it is to dog me thus over a whole 
continent. 

Boston is fringed with wooden houses, hut the 
interior is more suhstantial. You are struck imme- 
diately with its decent, comparatively English air as 
contrasted with New York. The houses have not 
sliot up and gone to seed ; they preserve an even sky- 
line, and you see whole terraces huilt on a single plan. 
Not hut what lioston possesses features of useful 
ugliness, which even New York lacks. The tram 
cars, for instance, which all go hy electricity, have 
sticking up from the roof of eacli an inclined rod 
rather like the hack leg of an easel, which runs along 
a wire overhead. The ellect of these wires, together 
with a crowd of others in the telegraph and telephone 
services, is as if a gigantic spider had spun a weh low 
down over every street, anil was waiting somewhere 
on the roofs to pounce on any Bostonian who should 
invent a ilying-machine and endeavour to lly tlirough. 
As for tlic tram-cars, Boston is a paradise of them. 
Never iiave 1 seen a trauiway service more thoroughly 
developed. In the hu.sy parts of the city they arc 
crawling along every street in h^iig lines at a few 



THE BOSTON PARKS SYSTEM. 51 

yards' — sometimes but a few inches' — distance apart. 
Red and blue, brown and purple, yellow and light 
green and dark green, they wind and circle in and 
out, between and across each other as if they were 
engaged in an elaborate tram-car ballet. The very 
Post Office has a neat white tram-car of its own, 
wherein it transports the mails. 

That which lifts Boston from a busy, rather unim- 
pressive provincial town into an example to the world 
is the system of its public parks. They are not 
finished yet — notliing in America is, except some 
of the politicians — but when they are they will be 
a rare monument of wise and generous civic spirit. 
Boston may then increase to a city of ten million 
souls, but it will yet be possible to live in the very 
centre and get daily fresli air. The parks form, 
roughly speaking, a wide ring round the present city, 
connected in great part by a band of broad, well- 
timbered avenues. I set out the other morning to 
inspect the parks system in an even downpour that 
would have made an inquiry into the surface drainage 
more pertinent. First came Boston Common, where 
they play baseball, hockey, football, and the like. 
It is not unlike the grassy parts of Hyde Park, with 
the exception that many of the walks are paved — an 
improvement of which this particular morning clearly 
demonstrated the prudence. Next was the Public 
Gardens adjoining the Common — as gracefully laid 
out as you could wish to see. Palms of every kind, 



52 BOSTON. 

liydrangeas, with thick, nodding heads of flesh- 
coloured blossoms, ponds with water-lilies of every 
size and colour — blue, crimson, pink, yellow, and 
white, all subtropical plants and shrubs, beds of 
cunningly combined flowers and foliage — cannas, 
balsams, begonias, indiarubbers, coleus — make up 
between them a garden of the rarest beauty. Only 
one fault could I find in the Garden or the Com- 
mon, and I mention it because I may never have 
the chance of using the word again in this 
country. They are just a little too small. But 
you cannot say the same of Franklin Park, 
wherein the whole half-million or so of Boston's 
inhabitants could all disport themselves without 
jostling. On the day I saw it Franklin Park con- 
tained just one person and the rain, but that was 
more the rain's fault than the park's. Laid out with 
cunning imitation of a natural wildness, it extends 
for mile on mile of grass and thicket. Then there is 
the belt of water and water-plants, called the Back 
Bay Fens. No doubt they are most refreshing in 
summer, but to-day, when Boston was one vast fen 
itself, they were almost too fenny for long and close 
acquaintance. 

The architectural glories of Boston centre, I 
suppose, in Copley Square. Here is the Public 
Library, the Art Gallery, the Cathedral. The last is 
built in what I may take the liberty of calling the 
American style — a mixture of Corinthian, Gothic, 



CLEAN BOSTON. 53 

and Byzantine, with colour thrown in. The Art 
Gallery is pretty enough with its two colours of warm 
red brick, and the Public Lil)rary is a thoroughly 
respectable-looking institution. Inside it contains an 
adorably simple fresco by M. Puvis de Chavannes and 
an appallingly complex Biblical allegory by Mr Sargent. 
When the good Bostonian dies it will be granted her 
to sit for ever and ever before this work with a 
diagram and a numbered key. For Boston is held 
the most cultivated of American cities, but perhaps 
I may say that its true merit seemed rather its 
cleanness. My fondest recollection will be of Con- 
stitution Avenue, with its double row of trees in the 
middle, its broad, well-laid roadways on each side, its 
red-brick pavements, fresh lawns, and creeper-grown 
stone houses. A clean, sweet, wholesome remem- 
brance, breathing unostentatious comfort and intel- 
ligent, refined, golden mediocrity. 



54 



VII. 



A STATE ELECTION. 



Boston, September 15. 

It was my own fault. Why should I expect Port- 
land, Me., to be a seething centre of political activity ? 
Yet I did. One gets strange superstitions about 
places one has never been to. I had seen Portland 
on the map so often, that now I was within a short 
four hours of it it seemed wicked to leave it un- 
visited. Moreover, there was an election in Maine — 
not the real Presidential performance, but a sort of 
rehearsal for the election of a Governor, a Congress- 
man or two, vState senators and legislators, and vari- 
ous constitutional oddments. Nothing of national 
importance, of course. Maine has been Eepublican 
all its life except once, when it went Democratic by 
pure accident. And in any case the real battle of 
this election will be fought neither in the extreme 
East nor in the outer West. It is in the centre round 
Chicago — in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, 
Iowa — that the key of the position lies, and the can- 



AN EVEr.Y-T)AV RAILWAY TT^AIN, 55 

didate who carries these States will carry the couDtry. 
As for this part of the country I need only quote 
the words of a gentleman encountered in the train. 
" Bryan ? Bryan would stand no more chance in Maine 
than a paper man in hell." And if you weigh for a 
moment the exact degree of chance a paper man 
would stand at that temperature, you will get a 
rough measure of the prospects of free silver in New 
England. 

However, I thought I would accustom myself 
gradually to the flamboyant methods of western 
electioneering; so I rose up early in the morning, 
took a ticket for Portland, and climbed up into a 
smoking-car, I then discovered that my first rail- 
way journey in America of two days before had been 
more than ordinarily luxurious. This car had not 
easy -chairs, but only broad -seated, broad -backed, 
velvet - cushioned lounges ranged down its whole 
length. The car was full of men ; the smoke of them 
thickened the air, and they spat steadily. Down the 
middle aisle a boy marched continually to and fro 
hawking a diversity of wares that would have brought 
jealousy into the soul of Mr Whiteley. Each time 
he retired to his end of the car I thought he was 
done with at last ; each time he popped out again 
with something new to sell. " Cigars, gents ; cigars ; 
playing-cards ! " was the first offer. Then came the 
Boston morning papers ; then " Chocolates, fresh made 
this morning ! " then " The pocket drinking-cup, re- 



56 A STATE ELECTION. 

duced to fifteen cents ; only fifteen, gents, for the 
pocket drinking-cup ! " Next he sprang fortli witli 
the September magazines, then the comic papers, then 
chewing-gum ; after that I made no further attempt 
to keep up with his infinite variety. 

Presently came along the conductor. I showed my 
ticket ; he took it, and with a swift movement slipped 
a blank pink ticket into the band of my hat. It was 
a shock at first, but as he went round the whole car 
labelling every passenger with his own appropriate 
colour, I supposed it was all right. I wore his colours 
in my cap like a knight of chivalry for four hours, and 
there was no more bother about tickets. 

Soon there rose up round me a spirited, if incon- 
clusive, discussion on the relative merits of the gold 
and silver dollar, accompanied by a mellifluous stream 
of the easiest and most finished profanity I ever heard 
outside the British army. Everybody does it, both 
cussing and discussing — arguing out the question ap- 
parently rather from a personal friendship for gold or 
silver as a metal than from any definite economic 
principles as to their due ratio. Thus in a cloud of 
smoke, swearing, and argument we were whirled 
through New England. 

In due time we drew into a fair-sized station of 
Continental appearance. Everything here suggests 
the Continent rather than England : you do not enter 
the train from a platform as with us, but climb from 
the level of the rails, while the carriages, as everybody 



"EVANGELINE" UP TO DATE. 57 

knows, are of the long foreign type. The station was 
Portland, and Portland was enchanting. It was like 
a canto of Longfellow's "Evangeline" brought up to 
date. The low stone-built station opens on to a wide 
lawn of rich shaven grass. The pavements are of red 
brick, as in Boston, but with broad ribbons of turf 
between them and the road. The houses are part 
spotless wood, part sober red brick. Every road is 
fringed with shady trees. It is as sweet and whole- 
some as the wholesomest parts of Boston, with the 
added grace that no other parts meet the eye. For 
the city is set on a hill, and between each pair of 
houses stretches a long vista over the rolling green of 
Maine bordered with faint hills, or else over the still 
blue Atlantic, with no boundary but the sky. Down 
where the clipper schooners lie there are wharves and 
a lumber trade, and that mars the idyll a little, for 
America is not the land to import unnecessary pic- 
turesqueness into the lumber trade. But that you do 
not see ; it is under the hill. Likewise there are 
electric tramways and wires overhead ; but these 
droop gracefully between the trees, as if they were 
only waiting for Chinese lanterns and an illumination. 
And if there are electric cars, the town is also full of 
horses and dogs, clean-bred and well-liking beasts each 
one of them. The men and women are open-faced, 
upstanding, and healthy, slow and laconic in speech, 
a little liard in feature, and a little dour in disposi- 
tion — for I take it that ease does not come unasked 



58 A STATE ELECTION. 

to folks ill Maine — yet honest and courteous in their 
own fashion. Altogether a comely, cleanly, kindly bit 
of New England ; and he who likes living in a small 
town might do very much worse than emigrate to 
Portland, Me. 

But where was the election all this while ? Where 
were the flaming carriages I had expected to be meet- 
ing the electors, who, I knew, were coming in by this 
train ? Where were the favours, the banners, the 
posters, the brass bands, and the processions ? Things 
looked more like Sabbath afternoon than the election 
day of the century. The fun must be higher up the 
town, I said to myself, and took my habitual five 
cents' worth of electricity. Presently I descried a 
huge blue poster. Here it is, I shouted inwardly ; 
but no : it bore merely the name of Jolly Nellie 
M'Henry in "A Night in New York." 

It must be higher still. Presently we passed under 
a couple of banners hung right across the street, bear- 
ing the respective features of M'Kinley and Hobart 
and Bryan and Sewall. But those you see every- 
where : there was still no whisper of an election. I 
got down from the car and walked about the town. 
Suddenly I caught, afar off, a glint of scarlet and 
gold. There came slowly up the street a resplendent 
waggon with six horses, in which a brass band made 
deafening music. Here was the true Transatlantic 
electioneering at last ! It came nearer, and behind 
it appeared a file of gorgeously caparisoned horse- 



AN UNOP.TPtUSIVE ELECTION. 59 

men. Better and better. 1 thought of the mounted 
farriers of our Hyde Park demonstrations, but it was 
a new thing to find them in a contested election. Now 
I was about to see. By this time I was abreast of 
the leading car. I looked eagerly beyond ; and then 
— and then — a clown driving two donkeys tandem, 
and behind him a swaying elephant with an adver- 
tisement on its back : " Smith and Seebright's "VVorld- 
lienowned Circus " ! 

I walked desperately into the nearest hotel and 
asked if somebody would kindly direct me to the 
election. Tlien, at last, I found it. Two undistin- 
guishable committee-rooms, hidden away behind shops, 
and a polling-booth. No colours, no canvassers, no 
hauling of reluctant voters to the ballot, no candidates 
driving round four-in-hand. If this was an American 
election, give me staid ]Migland. r>ut it seems my 
ignorance had betrayed me again. In this country 
the excitement ceases on the eve of the poll, and 
nothing remains for the actual day but the quiet gar- 
nering of the crop of votes. Confound my ignorance ! 
I had lost a day. 

However, I did observe that an American polling- 
booth is not unlike the same article as found among 
us. Shavings were on tlie lloor ; a l)ar stretched 
across the room, and on the far side of it were 
little loose - boxes round the wall for the voters to 
vote in. I saw half-a-dozen laboriously discharging 
the duties of free citizenship. It is no light matter 



60 A STATE ELKC'TION. 

voting at an election like this. Besides your Governor, 
your Congressman, your Senators, and members of legis- 
lature, you have to elect a Sheriff, a County attorney, 
a County commissioner, and other functionaries whose 
functions I know not. The form of the ballot-paper 
emphasises what I had noticed before — the enormous 
stringency of the party tie in this country. Our 
voting - papers simply give you the names of Smith 
and Jones, and if you don't know which is which 
the country is not going to help you. The American 
ballot-paper marks off the whole list of each party's 
candidates in a separate column, with its denomina- 
tion — Eepublican, Democratic, and so on. If you 
want to vote a straight ticket, as the instructions 
put it, you just make a cross at the top of the list. 
If you want to split the ticket — that is, vote for 
some of the party and not others — you cross out the 
name you object to, and write in its stead that of 
your fancy. When the State thus conspires with 
party discipline, it must require very solid strength 
of mind for a man to vote according to his own 
judgment. It is one of the good results of this elec- 
tion — so several thoughtful people have assured me — 
that more voters will split the ticket this time than 
ever before. Now, a man who has once broken away 
from his party will do so again if he thinks right ; 
thus is formed a body of voters who will turn elec- 
tions on their own independent opinion. The nucleus 
of such a body came with the many Eepublicans who 



BREAKING THE LIQUOR LAW. 61 

voted against the M'Kinley tariff. Now will come tin 
even larger contingent of Democrats, supporters of the 
gold currency. The creation of such an independent 
electorate should be a powerful aid to sound govern- 
ment in the future. 

Having got this wrong-end-of-a-telescopic view of 
an American election, the only diversion left was to 
break the Maine Liquor Law. It was put into my 
head by the genial salutation of a gentleman who 
could only just keep on his legs. In Maine, as you 
know, the buying and selling of alcoholic liquor is 
unconditionally forbidden under I do not quite know 
what penalty. I thought I would try to incur that 
unknown penalty. Bethinking me that the barber is 
the friend of man, I went in and was shaved. " You 
can't buy a drink here, I'm told," I began. " No," 
said the barber, stolidly. " I suppose people do, 
though." " I don't know much about it. I fancy 

there's a druggist or two " Then, as if by a 

powerful ehbrt of memory, " There's a bar right here 
where you can get it," he said. 

Following his directions I walked down a long 
passage, and at the back of the house, among sculleries 
and the like, there was a bar indeed. " Whisky," said 
I hardily, and whisky it was. It was exceptionally 
good whisky, and it was no dearer than anywhere else. 
" Isn't this what they call a Prohibition State ? " I 
asked. " It's supposed to be," grinned the bar-tender. 
" But don't the police or somebody come down on 



62 A STATE ELECTION. 

you ? " " Now and then they take it iu their head to 
make a fuss." Such is temperance legislation in its 
chosen seat. It was impossible that this bar, in tlie 
very centre of the town, should not be known and 
used by everybody that cared to know and use it. 
While I was there a working man came in and bought 
a bottle of whisky and took it away with him. He 
remarked ironically that he had dyspepsia ; and I 
expect he has by now. Thus is the law brought into 
contempt, and thus I became a criminal. Portland in 
the New World — who knows ? — may be for me the 
first downward stepping - stone to Portland in the 
Old. 



63 



VIII. 



A STATE CONVENTION, 



Buffalo, September 17. 

■The sceueiy of Buffalo, to the eye of the fleeting 
stranger, is not unlike that of Clerkenwell. The 
houses of one street appear to have fronts to them ; 
the rest are seemingly all backs. But on the morning 
of my arrival Buffalo had done its best, or part of its 
best, to cover up its nakedness. Was it not the seat 
of the Democratic Convention of the State of New 
York ? M'Kinley and Hobart, Bryan and Sewall, 
flaunted their familiar features on huge banners, which 
straddled across the widest streets. All the principal 
buildings wore American ensigns ; the hotels, head- 
quarters of delegations, were wholly swaddled in them. 
The streets were full, and in the corridors of the hotels 
it was as ditticult to move as it is in Cheapside on 
Lord Mayor's Day. " You won't see any Democrats," 
the host of my hotel at Niagara had sardonically pro- 
mised me on parting ; " you'll see a lot of Anarchists, 
that's all." I can only say that they were the best 



64 A STATE CONVENTION. 

nourished Anarchists I have ever had the privilege of 
looking on. Tammany Hall — the great Democratic 
order of New York — had invaded Buffalo twelve hun- 
dred strong, in six special trains ; had marched in six 
abreast, with colours flying, and a band and red fire. 
The Anarchists of Tammany are mainly Irishmen of 
huge proportions, whether you measure them perpen- 
dicularly or by circumference. In England you would 
set them down on sight as meat-salesmen from Smith- 
field ; in xlmerica — so, at least, I am informed by their 
enemies — they mostly draw handsome salaries from 
the city or county of New York without making it 
altogether plain what they do for them. Every Tam- 
many man wore on his ample bosom a badge some 
eight inches long ; at the top a silver bar — it was gilt 
at the last Convention, whereby hangs a tale — in- 
scribed with the mystic name of Tammany, then a 
ribbon of the United States colours, and a medallion 
hanging from that with the picture of an Indian brave. 
It appears that Tammany plays at being savages, with 
braves and sachems, just as some of our people play at 
being knights and dames of chivalry. Then there 
were the country delegates. Every man carried a 
badge in his button-hole, and from two to six ribbons, 
placards, or flowers in his coat. But these wore 
heavier boots, moved more slowly, spoke less volubly. 
Most of them wore black broadcloth frock-coats and 
trousers and black wideawake hats ; they looked like 
village deacons, as I make no doubt they were. 



THE DEPRAVITY OF SElsUTOK HILL. 65 

The four hundred and odd delegates — representing 
the Democrats of a population of some six millions 
— had met, first, to decide the policy on which they 
would fight the New York State elections as well as 
the Presidential contest ; and secondly, who should be 
their candidates. The policy is called the platform, 
and the list of candidates the ticket. There was 
a possibility of sharp fighting between the more 
enthusiastic advocates of Mr Bryan and silver and 
such Democrats as preserve a hankering after the 
gold standard. The head of the latter is Senator 
Hill, an unrivalled political gymnast, who has for 
many years played a prominent part in the affairs 
of this State. On the present currency issue he 
has performed prodigious feats of balancing, and no- 
body — himself least of all — knows to which side 
he inclines from day to day. " The spectacle of 
moral turpitude," as an infiuential organ here has 
genially remarked, " which Senator Hill has recently 
presented affords an exhibition of the depravity of 
human nature, which goes far to justify the Cal- 
vinistic doctrine of the utter corruption of man." 
This was no gutter journal, it should be said, but 
a weekly paper of something the same standing as 
Black and White, whence may be inferred the fact 
that political controversy on this side the Atlantic 
is at least outspoken. Without going so far as this, 
I had expected at least some lively scenes on the 
part of the Senator's friends and foes. That I was 

£ 



66 A STATE CONVENTION. 

disappointed — that the Senator did nut face the 
music, that his friends and enemies maintained 
comparative calm, that the Convention, to be frank, 
was undeniably tame — is unfortunate, luit it cannot 
be laid to my charge. 

The place of meeting was the Buffalo Music Hall. 
To the Eastern eye it looks like a sort of cross be- 
tween a concert -hall and a suburban mission -room. 
About a dozen American ensigns were disposed 
about the stage, and there were two portraits of 
Bryan and one of Sewall. I have yet to meet, by 
the way, anybody who takes the least interest in 
Sewall. The decorations as a whole, I was assured, 
were painfully inadequate to the occasion. The 
gallery was crowded with spectators, but the leaders 
on the stage and the delegates on the floor were 
deplorably unpunctual. The truth was, so the 
Democratic papers said, that this was a delegates' 
convention — not a cut-and-dried, boss-ridden affair, 
where the representatives from the local organisa- 
tions liad nothing to do but say " Ay " to a motion 
given out from the chair. The delegates were them- 
selves to decide on the platform and the ticket. 
The result was that the delegates — wortliy souls 
— believing this, had sat up so late the night be- 
fore talking, talking, talking about what they would 
do, that they found it quite impossible to come to 
the hall and do it until an hour over time the next 
morning. By that time they had all straggled in 



POPULAR ORATOKY. 67 

and laboriously sorted themselves according to their 
counties, and the proceedings began. 

The lankest chairman of modern times was duly 
elected, and delivered a long address on the Silver 
question. Without doubt the Silver question is 
technically the one issue of this campaign ; every 
speech dealt with it, just as every conversation you 
overhear in a train or the street is dealino; with 
it. It is not an invigorating subject for a popular 
harangue. " To annul either of the metals as 
money is to abridge the quantity of the circulat- 
ing medium," is hardly the sentence you would ex- 
pect to set popular passion aflame, any more than 
the chorus, "We'll eradicate the gold-bugs with our 
16 to 1," is the ideal of a rousing political song. 
On the other hand, this whole nation's attention is 
concentrated on business and money -making to a 
degree almost incredible even to an Englishman, 
while the very high average of its intelligence 
guides it through mazes of abstruse financial argu- 
ment which would hopelessly befog the ordinary 
English voter. Yet this chairman's speech, as well 
as a dozen or so others I heard, were very admirable 
popular oratory, judge them by what standard you 
will. Perhaps they recalled the street preacher a 
little, in matter, in intonation, in delivery. The 
speakers, like the ordinary preacher, dealt very ex- 
tensively in vain repetitions. But then you must 
remember that the hall was a very large one, and it 



68 A STATE COXVEXTION. 

was difficult for any voice to carry in it. The repe- 
tition is meant to catch the ears that the first state- 
ment escaped. 

It struck me as rather curious that the Convention 
endured patiently the unending reproduction of argu- 
ments that every man must have read twice a-day in 
the public press — for the American is seldom without 
a newspaper in his hand. But I concluded that he 
does not want his public speakers to instruct him. 
He wants to be amused, tickled, flogged up to enthusi- 
asm. That, with the size of the normal American 
public meeting, has produced a far more declamatory 
kind of rhetoric than we know at home. Every 
speaker gesticulates freely and with ease and effect. 
Biblical allusions, which would be profane among us, 
are received, in all good faith, with clapping of hands. 
One speaker turned in an impassioned apostrophe to 
the picture of Mr Bryan, which hung at the wings. 
" 0, William Jennings Bryan ! " he cried, lifting both 
hands as if in adoration. An English audience would 
have choked with laughter ; here it was a very telling 
point. No doubt the necessity of talking to an 
audience so large that it is a constant strain to be 
heard, crushes out the finer effects of oratory. It 
leads to the use of very long-sustained sentences, 
difficult to follow, and leaving their impression rather 
on the emotions than the reason. Yet nobody can 
either hear or read even such ordinary, everyday 



A SCENE, r.9 

speeches as those of the Buffalo Convention without 
allowing them real dignity and eloquence. 

After the chairman's speech came the platform, 
submitted by the committee that had drawn it up. 
It supported the Chicago Convention and the Bryan 
candidature. It freely charged its opponents in the 
State Legislature with the grossest corruption and any 
other vices it could lay its pen to. It made an ingeni- 
ous bid for the cyclist vote — which must be prodigious 
here — by pressing for better roads. On this question 
of the platform arose a promising gust of disorder. 
When it was put to the meeting there arose — as 
appeared from the gallery — a broad, black-coated back, 
a wagging bald head, and an Irish accent, raised in 
vigorous protest. In an instant every delegate and 
most spectators sprang up — some to their feet, some to 
their seats — and whooped " No, no," " Sit down," " Yes, 
yes," " Turn him out," " Let him speak." In the midst 
of which the back and head were reinforced by an 
upraised arm, brandishing the Bryan revolving fan — 
silver-foil, price 10 cents — until the fan part flew off 
towards the ceiling, leaving the ineffective stump be- 
hind. The nape of the neck began to get purple — 
surely, thought I, here is the malign influence of 
Senator Hill at last. But alas ! no. It appeared that 
this gentleman merely demanded a poll, and when 
the poll was taken it appeared that he had written 
a speech explaining his vote. And when he had made 



70 A STATE CONYENTTOX. 

his speech lie announced — wliat tlie speech had wholly 
ignored — that he was going to vote just the same way 
as everybody else. He affably acknowledged that he 
did not believe in free silver. But then, he said, the 
best experts differed on the subject, and would con- 
tinue to differ. Should he separate himself from the 
party of Democracy for a trifle like that ? Never ! 
Everybody applauded the sentiment, and I wondered 
what, then, was he voting for. 

Then came the nomination of the Convention's can- 
didate for Governor. The choice lay between gen- 
tlemen of the names of Thacher and Sulzer, with an 
outsider named Porter to make the running. " How 
could we go back to Jefferson County," asked the 
nominator of Mr Porter, in plaintive apology, " and 
tell our people that we had failed to put him in 
nomination?" But the real battle was obviously 
between Messrs Thacher and Sulzer. The latter is 
the younger and the more ardent advocate of free 
silver ; at every mention of his name his partisans 
flung hats and handkerchiefs, newspapers and um- 
brellas, into the air. Mr Thacher, it appeared, had 
only a few months ago publicly warned an audience 
against letting the selfish interests of the owners of 
silver bullion lead them from the safe path of mono- 
metallism. Yet — and this was very significant — it 
was assumed that, whatever his personal opinions, he 
would "loyally" support free coinage, because the 
Convention had declared in favour of it. The Divine 



A STAMPEDE. 71 

Eight of the Majority was forniiilated ahiiost in set 
terms. Not merely that the majority will have its 
way, and that on the whole it ought to have its way ; 
that every intelligent Englishman believes. But also 
that he is no true Democrat who maintains his own 
opinion in the teeth of it : this is democracy double- 
dyed indeed. 

Hard on the top of this theory fell the strangely 
ironical conclusion. The voting began. The chair- 
man read the roll of delegates by counties, and the 
chief delegate answered how many votes the county 
gave for each candidate. At first Sulzer led — plainly 
he was the choice of the rural voters. Presently, 
" New York," called the chairman. Then uprose the 
leader of Tammany — John C. Sheehan is his eloquent 
name. "New York: John Boyd Thacher, one hun- 
dred and five votes." Tammany had voted solid to a 
man. Sulzer himself, hailing from New York city, 
was constrained to give his voice for his opponent. 
With a hundred and five votes out of four hundred and 
forty at a mouthful, Thacher was as good as elected. 
Then came a curious sequel — yet not so curious, 
either, to those who have noticed the ways of either 
beasts or men in masses. Nearly all the agricultural 
voters now gave sheepish and rather shamefaced suf- 
frages to Thacher. The Convention, in the expressive 
native phrase, was stampeded. It was to be the dele- 
gates' unbossed Convention — and Mr John C. Sheehan 
controlled it with his little finger. The system of 



72 A STATE CONVENTION. 

voting by roll-call left no man any reasonable chance 
of concealing the side he took ; the eye of the boss 
was upon him. So Mr Thacher is to stand for gov- 
ernor, and experts see in this the Machiavelian hand 
of the depraved Senator Hill aforesaid. Yet it seems 
that Mr Thacher must support Silver, though per- 
sonally he prefers Gold. He must vote for Silver 
because the majority that chose him vote for Silver. 
And the majority chose him because Mr Sheehan 
told it to. So that it works out at this: that the 
political opinions of Mr John B. Thacher are formed 
by Mr John C. Sheehan. A strange paradox for tlie 
freest democracy on earth ! 



73 



IX. 



NIAGARA. 



Washington, Septemhrr 19. 

TiTR dominant and overmastering impression of Niagara 
is — water. Water everywhere you turn, before and 
behind, underfoot and descending in showers from 
overhead. To approach it is to be moistened through 
your whole body, and to walk round it is a liberal 
water-cure. Here in Washington, with the thermo- 
meter marking — I was going to say a cool 94° in the 
shade : that would be misleading — a hot 94° in the 
shade, I sit and pant for Niagara. It is a universe 
of water. Miles of water, fathoms of water, tons of 
water, water rushing at incalculable speed, water 
hurled with irresistible force, water purling, swish- 
ing, roaring, water diving into the abyss, water leap- 
ing up to heaven. Finally, water turning an electric 
wheel. 

The great merit of Niagara as a cataract is its acces- 
sibility from every distance and every point of view. 
Knowing itself to be the greatest thing on earth, it 



74 NIAOATU. 

has hospitably laid itself out to l^e inspected from 
every part, from far or near, to be seen, heard, and 
felt in its aspects of beauty as in its attributes of 
awfulness. The Niagara river runs northward from 
the eastern corner of Lake Erie to the western corner 
of Lake Ontario, Just above the Falls it finds the 
rocky mass of Goat Island barring its way ; after 
this its bed turns sharply to the right. Half of it 
leaps down on the American side ; the other half 
turns the corner of the Lsland on the Canadian side, 
and drops in the vast crescent of the Horseshoe Falls. 
The two are, roughly, at right angles one to another. 
From the suspension bridge which spans the gorge 
of the river below the Falls, or from the Canadian 
side, you can see the two together: the American 
Falls and the huge red - brown precipice of Goat 
Island form one side of a parallelogram, the Horse- 
shoe Falls another. Seen thus, there is nothing 
terrible about Niagara — just white walls of water 
and white floating clouds of spray. Over the lip 
of the Horseshoe Falls the stream curls in an arc 
of the most wondrous, lustrous green, such as never 
was, and never could be, put on canvas. Down in 
the wide basin below, the river seems sluggish and 
weary after its buffeting. Steamers puff along right 
under the precipices of rock and water. Every tree 
and blade of grass, even now, is green with the fresh- 
est, coolest green of spring. Under a dying sun and 
a pale blue sky, with a fleecy moon riding over the 



TTTK AMERICAN RAPIDS. 75 

brink of the Horseshoe Falls, Niagara was a place 
to day-dream and forget there is any such thing as 
noise and effort in the world. The scene that could 
so beguile you after New York and the Buffalo Con- 
vention may call itself a miracle of nature with good 
title. 

For Niagara in tumult you must go to the American 
side. Here again the generous cataract offers all 
kindness to its wooers. Above the Falls the broad 
river is broken into miles of leaping, seething rapids ; 
and I am not sure but this is the most romantic part 
of the whole wonder. Everybody knows what a little 
rapid looks like ; there are dozens of them on the 
Lynn, for example, or almost any stream in hill 
country. This is a great waste of desolate black 
tormented water. Here and there it flings up into 
white foam as it is struck back from a rock. Then 
it is pitched forward again, then aside into a quiet 
eddy, only to drive forward on to the rocks once 
more. As it sweeps down on the American Falls 
it has a moment's peace. There is an embanked 
corner so close to the edge that you may stand, and, 
turning your head to the left, see a limpid stream — 
swift, but not astonishingly swift — flowing by at 
your feet. You turn to the right — and there is 
nothing but empty air. Where has the river dis- 
appeared to ? Then you look down and see it, sunk 
underground, as it were, and changed from racing 
black to sluggish green. And the border between 



76 NIAOAr^A. 

these two fields of vision is just one long white line, 
where the water breaks into foam as it slides over 
the edge. 

All this only concerns the look and the sound of 
the water. You can see the green and the black 
and the white ; you can hear the strong rustle of the 
Eapids and the roar of the Falls. But if you want 
to feel Niagara, then go down to the Cave of the 
Winds. The Cave of the Winds is not really a cave 
at all, but what it lacks in cave it makes up in wind. 
It is really a path close under the base of the preci- 
pice over which the American Fall flings itself. As 
the river descends it is naturally thrown forward and 
outward from the face of the rock. Thus it leaves 
a little passage between the two walls of rock and 
water, along which it is possible to walk. You pay 
your dollar, strip off every rag of your clothes, lock 
up your watch and money in a box, sling the key 
round your neck, put on a suit of oilskin and list 
slippers, and down you go. First you descend a 
spiral wooden stair, which runs down the face of the 
cliff. Then you come out into daylight on a ridge 
under Goat Island. Immediately little dribblets of 
Niagara begin to run over your head and down your 
neck. Turn a sharp corner, and there is the Fall, 
sweeping from the height above with a deafening 
roar and a blinding spume, hardly a couple of yards 
in front of you. Just beyond the spot where it 
alights are some huge rocks ; from one to another 



THE CAVE OF THE WINDS. 77 

of these climbs a series of frail wooden bridges and 
stairways leading right across the face of the Fall. 
That is the way to the Cave of the Winds. Drenched 
in blinding spray, you walk, or slither, along them. 
Of course, they are streaming wet, and overgrown 
with slimy water- weeds. Thus you pass right in 
front of the Fall and look up at it. It glides swiftly 
and without effort over the brink, and breaks itself 
into clouds of spray as it beats with a hoarse grinding 
roar on the rocks. You look and look. Down, down 
it comes, and loud, loud it thunders. There comes 
over you a wild craving for silence, and unconsciously 
you wait for it to stop and give you time to pull 
yourself together. Only by degrees — so dazed and 
stupid the sublimity of it leaves you — do you realise 
that Niagara never stops; that it has never stopped 
one second since the water first burst its way through 
the rock to the gorge below, and that it will go 
crashing down like this hour by hour, year by year, 
century by century — for ever. 

Then you go down more slippery steps to the Cave. 
These land you on a shelf at the base of the sheer 
rock — a sort of twelve-inch beach lashed by a furious 
sea of waterfall. But that lashing waterfall is the 
Cave, and you have got to go through it. All take 
hands; then, with the guide leading, you push into 
the most awful rain-storm that you ever dreamed of 
in your most extravagant dream. The only thing 
comparable to it is being out of your depth in the 



78 NIAGAKA. 

sea before you have learned to swim. You are in 
the grip of the water, and all of a sudden you feel 
what a tiny, puny, impotent insect you are. You 
can't see, you can't hear, you can't breathe. You 
can just make shift to struggle on — to oppose what 
silly little fight you can against tlie unconquerable 
might of the water. Your silly little eftbrt just pulls 
you through. You come out the other side into the 
sunlight with a gasp, scramble up a few steps, and 
look back. Is that all ? Was it only that little bit 
of a garden watering-pot that you came through? 
It looks the simplest thing in the world. Only if 
that little bit knocked the breath and the senses and 
the mind out of you, as it did, you can just begin to 
form some idea what must be the matchless force of 
the whole thing. 

Then you dress and go Ijack to your hotel feeling 
very clean and rather played out, as if you had had 
a long swim. The rest of your time you will do well 
to spend merely loafing up and down by the shore. 
The town of Niagara Falls is a delight after cities 
like New York and Buffalo, or even Boston. One 
wide street with electric tram-cars, and the rest pave- 
ments of plank (to keep you out of the wet), trees, 
grass, coolness, and quiet. You may pass again on 
to the new suspension bridge; and, turning there to 
look down the river, you will see factories on the 
brow of the cliff, and dipping down to the green 
blotchy eddies the longest and fattest and most vcr- 



TIIK WATEB-nPK, THE ^^M^•^' 'v, 

luihoii wnU>r|U|ic you '>r el«o you can 

•^o ami l<Mik at the hu^^e wheel which ileVfloph 
|Miwer f'T milli'-n* of |i(ti)>le. Or t-l**- yon can stroll 
oiit to A at till* AuK'ricaii lia|»ids lis 

they toss uiul \% : iixl iiuulileii under the moon. 

Out of the li;;hl fretwork of tree.s that niark-s the 
Caiiailian Link the wavcji seem to swit-p down on 
you like t«»rturwl ^♦miN Turn ngnin, and up tlu* 
ri^er there ^h<»«>l.'*, ^ly frnni their very lu 

a tall faiiur}' diinincy. and I* into the still air 

a torrent of ih»* foulest aoot in the world. Arc wo 
not in All 



60 



X. 



W IM.IAM .1. r.KVAN : DKMAdOCrE. 

Washington, Scjiiimbcr 20. 
IIITIIEKTO it Ikis Iteeii the tradition that the candi- 
date for the I'residency should sit at home in dignity, 
while others conduct the campaign on his behalf. 
Deputations of voters may come to him, hul he 
must not go to them. j\Ir Ilryan lias changed all 
that — to the disgust of his opponents, who liiid 
his provincial starring tours unworthy of the high 
olfice he sues for; and to the equal delight of 
the mass of his supporters in the country. \lv 
moves from State to State, addressing a nia.ss meet- 
ing here, oli'ering a few remarks at a wayside station 
there, with more than Gladstoniaii industry. In 
the course of his pilgrimage he arrived yesterday at 
Washington. 

When I walked down to tlie station five minutes 
before his train was due, I found it dense with men 
and women, white, whitcy-biDwii, and black, who over- 
llowcd into the streets. In a torrid wind that fanned 



AT THE STATION. 81 

them lazily oft' the baked bricks and pavements, they 
waited with a crowd's usual mixture of expectancy 
and listlessuess. A large force of police, on foot and 
mounted, kept the street clear : by way of precaution 
they had brought a white and grey van, which I take 
to be the American equivalent of Black Maria, " I 
suppose they're going to take Bryan away in that," 
remarked a Eepublican cynic. The police of this 
country have not the best of reputations for tact, but 
these Washington men did their duty admirably. 
" Why don't ye get on to the side walk ? " pleaded a 
persuasive mounted Irishman. " Ye'll have to do ut ; 
why don't ye do ut when I tell ye ? Ye'll all see 
him." " See him for four years yet," sang out a 
gentleman with a twelve-inch crimson confession of 
Democracy streaming from his coat. In the moments 
of waiting there trickled along a discussion of the 
usual Silver question. This being the political capital 
of the Union, the inhabitants are disfranchised, and 
the mass of them appear to know and care very little 
about the subject. Most of them seem to think that 
if Bryan gets in they will somehow get more silver, 
and if M'Kinley gets in they will somehow get some 
gold — and if all I hear of electoral methods is true, 
their expectation is not wholly unwarranted. " I'm 
for gold," said a yellow man ; " I don't want fifty 
cents instead of a dollar." " Why, we've got silver," 
said a cabman, as he pulled out a dime, " and we've 
got paper," producing a dollar. " What's Bryan mak- 



82 WILLIAM J. RKYAX : DEMAGOGUE. 

ing all the fuss about ? " The cogent argunieiit had a 
great success. 

From inside the station arose a piercing sound, 
something between a whoop and a scream. This 
was the American cheer. Our cheer is produced by 
people shouting in unison ; the American by the com- 
bination of an infinite number of short, discordant 
noises. The difference is not, perhaps, without its 
analogy to national character. Ours is the more 
disciplined, and falls the more roundly on the ear, 
but to convey a head-splitting impression of enthusiasm 
their method is the more direct and effective. 

There was a trembling in the crowd by the door. 
An open carriage with four horses and two colossal 
negroes in livery swung up to the pavement. Next 
moment William J. Bryan was standing bareheaded 
inside it. A compact, black -coated figure, a clean- 
shaven, clear-cut face, a large, sharp nose, and a 
square mouth and jaw. With the faint blue stubble 
on his face, and his long grizzly hair, he suggests an 
actor to the English mind. But you could not mis- 
take him for a bad actor. Cheers ran out down the 
street, and hats Hew in the air ; and so he drove off 
serene and upright, pleased but not surprised, with a 
smile on his lips and a light in his eye — the very type 
of a great demagogue. 

Not necessarily a demagogue in any reproachful 
sense. Demagogue means leader of the people, and 
you may lead the people by straiglit ways or crooked 



IN THE PAKK. 83 

to good destinies or bad. lu a free country every 
politician must be something of a demagogue. Disraeli 
and Gladstone were both finished demagogues, and 
until we have two more great demagogues in England 
politics will continue to be as ditch-water. As for 
Mr Bryan, not one questioning word have I ever 
heard as to the purity of his motives. And in this 
country, where charges of gross corruption are volleyed 
to and fro across the net of party politics until you 
wonder what has become of the law of libel, the 
absence of accusation may be taken as conclusive 
proof of innocence. But demagogue — one who knows 
how to lead the people and who enjoys it — he is from 
the crown of his thinning hair to the dust of travel 
on his boots. 

I wandered up to the park, where the great meet- 
ing was to be held, and drifted into the crowd. The 
platform was built in front of a large stage, whereon 
sat perhaps a thousand people. It was draped with 
bunting, flags flew from every corner, and it was 
festooned with hundreds of incandescent lights. 
Along to the speaker's left was another stand. At 
one end of this a brazen - lunged band punctuated 
the speeches with "Shouting out the battle-cry of 
freedom," and similar appropriate airs. In front of 
the platform was massed the dense company, about 
ten thousand strong: this was not an extraordinarily 
large meeting for America. Out of the sea of soft 
felt hats rose an occasional cIuIj banner, and parts of 



84 WILLIAM J, BRYAN: DEMAGOGUE. 

the crowd were as thick with American ensigns as a 
wheat-field with poppies. A speaker was declaiming 
with vigour and eloquence from the platform, but the 
crowd took not the least notice. In the pauses of 
their conversation they occasionally caught a phrase, 
and whooped commendingly. But they were not 
there to hear arguments ; they were there to hear 
Bryan, and Bryan at the moment was dining. Now 
and again an enthusiast threw into the air a sheaf of 
bills, bearing the opinions of Abraham Lincoln on the 
money-power, and the ominous hot wind, which was 
plainly bringing up a thunder-storm, distributed them 
over the crowd. The crowd was only languidly in- 
terested in free silver, but it was down on the money- 
power. That is the kernel of this election. It is the 
first stirring of a huge revolt against plutocracy — 
against the trusts and rings that take their toll out 
of every man's every dollar. Free silver happens to 
be the hall-mark of revolt, but free copper or free 
mercury or free arsenic would do just as well. 

Suddenly, above the periods of the orator and the 
whistling of the wind, the band crashed out " See the 
conquering hero comes." Instantly the whole park 
awoke. A forest of little American flags sprang up 
on the stand and waved furiously. A deafening 
scream went up from the whole ground. " Unfurl," 
said a voice at my elbow ; I looked up, and behold 
I was standing under the flaunting standard of the 
North Carolina Bryan Club. I felt the position was 



BEYAN SPEAKS. 85 

a false one — the more so when the staff snapped in 
the wind and the banner extinguished me ; but no- 
body had leisure to think of such things. The mass 
of heads and flags in the stand was still heaving 
tumultuously ; it took the candidate a matter of 
minutes to swim through to the platform, yet the 
piercing quality of the shrieking never varied. Then 
he appeared, calm but radiant. Ten thousand hats 
flew in the air — ten thousand and one, counting mine, 
which with the stolidity of my race I merely waved 
— and the screams rose yet more shrilly. A little 
girl in silver tripped along the platform rail, and pre- 
sented a bunch of silver roses. The shrieks became 
delirium. For a moment the square, black figure 
stood absolutely still. Then slowly he reached forth 
the hand, like St Paul in the Bible. The din went 
on unabated. Still very slowly, he raised an arm above 
his head and made passes — one, two, three — in each 
direction of the crowd. Gradually silence crept over 
the mass of heads, and then the orator opened his lips. 
In a voice low but plain, hoarse but very rich, he 
began. He was glad to see once more those among 
whom he had spent four years of official life. " We'll 
give you four years more," shrieked my friend from 
the station. A broad and winning smile broke over 
the candidate's mouth, and again the mob screamed. 
A most admirable demagogue ! " That's smart," said 
a little man behind me ; " did ye see how it made him 
laugh ? " Everybody saw ; everybody was meant to 



86 AVIIJ.TAM J. BKYAN: DKMAnOGUE. 

see. Then again, when rain began to fall, somebody 
held up an umbrella over the orator's head. The 
wind blew it inside out. But the orator crammed a 
broad felt hat on to his head, turned up his coat collar 
with a sturdy gesture, and then spread out his arms to 
his hearers. Once more they cracked their throats 
with applause. " They won't get him down from 
there so easy," cried a delighted elector. Nature 
herself, turned gold-bug, was powerless to deter the 
people's hero from his mission. 

As for the matter of the speech, why trouble to 
inquire about it ? It reads well in this morning's 
newspaper, but I thought it smacked of platitude and 
tautology. Certainly it was most effectively delivered, 
and telling gestures drove every point hard home. 
But the matter — 'twas no matter what he said. They 
had come to see and hear, but not to reason. Each 
man was more concerned to set his own little radius 
laughing with a smart bit of comment than to hear 
what the man they cheered had to say. " Did ye see 
him?" was the question one put to another — not 
" What did he say ? " Both for good and evil, the free 
American citizen is no disciple of anybody ; it would 
take a smart man to teach him. So the whole meeting 
was just a spectacular effect. And nobody knew and 
acted on that truth better than William J. Bryan. 

Then came the storm. First a clap of thunder, then 
a cloud of dust, then flag-staves cracking, and finally 
such a fnsilade of heavy raindrops as England never 



THE DEMAGOGUE AT WORK. 87 

sees. Three-quarters of the audience took to their 
heels like a routed army. The rest squatted down 
close to the ground in bunches of two or three under 
an umbrella, till the park might have been dotted with 
toads under toadstools. Minute by minute the pitiless 
downpour went on. Then the remaining quarter split 
asunder from the centre. " He's gone ! " and in fifteen 
seconds the park was as bare as if Bryan never had 
been. But as I plashed home I saw the four-horsed 
carriage, with the nodding helmets of mounted police, 
driving rapidly off, with a further running, yelling 
escort of devotees. And I saw the black, square 
figure turn from side to side, buoyant and elastic, 
glad and exultant over the popular applause. A born 
demagogue, if I ever saw one ! 



88 



XI. 



THE CAPITAL AND THE CAPITOL. 

Washington, September 21. 

The United States are trying the biggest experiment 
in Government that the world has ever seen or is 
ever likely to see. It has been going on now for 
well over a hundred years, and I do not suppose it 
will be completed for at least a hundred years more. 
The experiment is to find out whether a tract of 
populated country so vast that it takes five days' 
incessant travel to go from one end of it to another 
can be made into a nation ; and if so, under what 
form of government ? People in Europe, and for 
that matter in America too, are apt to conclude that 
the experiment is complete and has succeeded. I 
do not think so. It has, indeed, been astonishingly 
successful, but it is not yet more than half complete. 
West of the Mississippi and the Missouri, the country 
is pegged out, and to some extent peopled ; but in 
the next hundred years the mere natural increase 
of population, to say nothing of immigration, will 



EAST AND WEST. ^^ 

probably throw the centre of gravity nearer Chicago 
than New York. At present the West is dependent 
both politically and economically upon the East ; when 
it becomes self-sufficing the situation will be very 
different. 

The present election has, of course, a most impor- 
tant bearing on the ultimate outcome of the experi- 
ment. For the first time the East and West find, 
or believe they find, their interests sharply and dia- 
metrically opposed. And I own it does not appear 
to me the best of augury for the ultimate unity of 
this country that each side appears more set on 
beating down the opponent than on trying to con- 
ciliate his interests with its own. I have not noticed, 
for instance, that the Eepublicans have put out any 
alternative policy to relieve Western agriculture, nor 
that the Democrats have devised any expedient in 
the event of their success to break the fall of Eastern 
business. That any serious danger of disruption is 
involved in tlie success of either party I have met 
nobody who will admit. "We are a sentimental 
people," said the most statesmanlike of New York 
editors to me, " and we are an excitable people, but 
we have our share of common-sense. With the line 
of cleavage drawn so deep and so long before the 
election day, I do not think we shall lose our heads 
whatever happens." On the other side I put the 
less responsible opinion of a manufacturer of fur- 
niture — and an exporter of it to Glasgow, too, if it 



90 THE CAPITAL AND TTTE CAPITOL, 

comes to that — whom I met in the tram near Buftalo. 
He was an American such as I have long dreamed 
of — nearer 6 feet 6 inches than 6 feet, wiry, parch- 
ment-skinned, clean shaven but for the grizzled chin- 
beard, with long yellow teeth, and a humorous blue 
eye. " I tell you, sir," he said, " when once the people 
begin fixing the coinage for themselves they will never 
let go of it again. If Bryan wins, the bankers will 
call every loan, and every mortgage will be called 
as it falls due. Business will go to hell, sir, and there 
will be trouble." Trouble or not, I do not admire 
the way the two sides guard themselves from trying 
to understand the position of the other. 

But what have these generalities to do with Wash- 
ington ? Not much, I admit. Yet it is because of 
the peculiar nature of the experiment in Government 
of which I speak that Washington exists at all. It 
is fairly plain that tins huge country cannot be cen- 
tralised in a capital as England or France are central- 
ised. You want a vast deal of local self-government 
to keep Maine and South Carolina and Oregon in 
the same nation. Accordingly there is a deal, and 
a vast deal, of local patriotism for the local Govern- 
ment to brace itself against. One of its results — 
I should say a deplorable one — is that a man may 
only sit in Congress for the constituency in which 
he actually lives. The ablest statesman in the world, 
if he is defeated in his own home, is temporarily lost 
to his country. No doubt the carpet-bagger has his 



AN AT^TIFICIAT. CAPITAL. 91 

demerits, but so surely has this opposite system. 
It stifles good men, and does nothing to discourage 
sectional exclusiveness. It is another result of this 
local sentiment, not to say mutual local antagonism, 
that the federal capital could be fixed in no existing 
important city. Philadelphia would not endure New 
York, and New York would never send her repre- 
sentatives to Philadelphia ; New Jersey would have 
nothing to do with either, and the South snapped its 
fingers at all three. So the district of Columbia was 
carved out of Maryland to the extent of ten square 
miles, the capital was laid out by a French engineer, 
the Capitol was planned by a "West Indian architect, 
and the city of Washington arose. Its inhabitants 
were and remain disfranchised ; why, I cannot alto- 
gether see. It can hardly be because they supply dry 
goods and groceries to representatives and senators, 
and might thereby be corrupted. If that is the reason, 
why not disfranchise all senators' grocers as such ? 
Senators have grocers at home as well as at Washing- 
ton : here, moreover, one senator's grocery bill might 
reasonably be expected to balance and neutralise 
another's. 

There is one very obvious inconvenience in having 
several capitals to a country. Here is New York, the 
business capital ; Washington, the political capital ; and 
Boston, the intellectual capital — this is denied, by the 
way, outside of Boston — and so on. Now if you want 
to find a man of any mark in England or France, you 



•T 



m 



02 THE CAPITAL AND THE (AriTOL. 

go to London or Paris, and in a short wliile he is certain 
to come under your hand. Not so here. You want a 
man in New York : he is occupied with his political 
duties in "Washington. You want him in Washington : 
he has gone to New York to look after his business. 
Why the deuce can't he do the two things in the same 
place ? you ask yourself at last. 

But when you reach Washington you forget every- 
thing in delight at the charm of the place. There is 
an impression of comfort, of leisure, of space to spare, 
of stateliness that you hardly expected in America. 
It looks a sort of place where nobody has to work for 
his living, or, at any rate, not hard. If Washington 
were in Germany, instead of a fair-sized slice of Ger- 
many being in Washington, it would be called a " Eesi- 
denz Stadt." That is just what it is — a seat of Govern- 
ment, laid out for the ease and dignity of the governors. 
Its plan reflects the greatest credit on its French en- 
gineer, who plainly had not forgotten Versailles in the 
land of the stranger. In theory the Capitol is the centre 
of the city. From it radiate four streets — in plain fact 
there are only three, but though the fourth does not 
meet the eye, it exists for topographic purposes just as 
truly as does the Equator — which divide the city into 
four quarters, north-east, nortli-west, south-east, south- 
west. Within these divisions the streets are ticketed 
off on the American method, those running East and 
AYest being lettered A Street, B Street, and so on. 



DIGNIFIED WASHINGTON. 93 

while those running North and South are numbered — 
1st Street, 2d Street, 3d Street. 

But this method, though full of convenience, is apt 
to leave a city with very little more character and 
beauty than the gridiron which it resembles. Accord- 
ingly, the ingenious designer has intersected this 
arrangement with broad avenues, running at various 
angles to the squares. Cunningly taking advantage 
of slight inequalities of the ground, this expedient has 
produced some of the finest streets and widest pros- 
pects in the world. Washington, moreover, is the best 
planted city I have ever rested my eyes on. Looking 
out from the summit of the Capitol, you realise the 
extraordinary liberality with which the city has been 
planned. Almost every street in the network has its 
double row of fine trees. In all other cities seen from 
above the note of colour is struck by the roofs ; in 
Washinc^ton slate roofs and red bricks are alike 
swallowed up in green. 

Another sight of great refreshment to the foreign 
eye is furnished by the public buildings. Dating for 
the most part from the end of last century or the 
early part of this, they are built in a chaste and classic 
style instinct with dignity and refinement. For in- 
terest and effect, I confess, I would ten times sooner 
look at the vigorous uncouthness of New York. Yet 
after this Washington affords a comfortable recoil. 
The White House, with its Corinthian pillars, its even 



94 THE CAPITAL AND THE CAPITOL. 

rows of large windows, its Hat balustraded roof, might 
almost be a great English mansion of the last century. 
The Treasury and the Post Office have the same Ionic 
columns ; and the Patent Office is much like the 
British Museum, only clean. 

But the star of Washington is the Capitol. It may 
be roughly described as like the National Gallery 
flanked with a Eoyal Exchange on each side, and with 
the dome of St Paul's stuck on top. This is only a 
very rough working description, and is far from doing 
the Capitol justice. It stands on a low hill which you 
ascend by broad flights of stone steps. Then it is 
girdled with tier on tier of stone terraces, and this 
setting keeps its great length and height from breaking 
out of proportion. Though it has been built wing by 
wing, extension by extension for over a hundred years, 
the parts all combine into one harmony. None crushes 
out the other, and by reason of tlie harmony the huge 
mass is as light and graceful as any toy temple in a 
pleasure-ground. Yet with all its gracefulness, the 
Capitol is very majestic. It would be a king of build- 
ings in any city ; it is doubly regal in Washington. 
Eor plainly the capital is built for the Capitol ; not the 
Capitol for the capital. It is the Capitol's own city, 
laid out at its feet to do it honour and to enhance its 
lordliness. Broad sweeps of public garden, long vistas 
of spacious avenue, white outlines of vassal public 
offices grouped round it — the whole city is the setting 



THE SEAL OF UNITY. 95 

for this shining jewel. Each city of America is 
stamped with its own individuality ; the Capitol is the 
seal of the unity of them all. 

Will the seal be strong enouo'h to bind them ? Will 
this still stand as the one Capitol, without rival or 
second, in the year 2000? Who knows? 



96 



XII. 



IN THE SOUTH. 

Wilmington, N.C, September 24. 
Yes ; beyond question I was in the South. That 
truth was established by ten able-bodied niggers 
struggling for a single hand-bag. As I sauntered 
down the main street of Wilmington the fact was 
gradually stamped upon my brain beyond possibility 
of mistake. They had told me that Wilmington was 
not real South : for that you must go down to New 
Orleans or Texas. No doubt New Orleans is of a 
richer southern dye than Wilmington. But to go to 
New Orleans and back from Washington is a matter 
of days, whereas Wilmington is but a paltry twelve 
hours away, which means almost next door in America. 
And Wilmington, after all, is in North Carolina, an 
indisputably Southern State. Here is a river of thick 
yellow ochre, dawdling between low, swampy, tree- 
grown banks, where they were shipping cotton. Here 
is a population wherein the blacks outnumber the 
whites. Was not Wilmington a notable resort of the 



THE UNTIDY SOUTH. 97 

blockade runners ? Cotton, niggers, and blockade run- 
ners — what more Southern can you want than that ? 

Here, moreover, was the true Southern atmosphere 
— the sun and dirt, and the imperative necessity to 
saunter, which you cannot but feel and yield to, 
whether you come on it down the Ehone or over 
the Alps, across the Danube or by the Atlantic Coast 
Eailroad from Washington. Once you have known it 
you cannot miss it again. There had been a smart 
frost in the morning, yet the sun and air of Wilming- 
ton exhaled a languor which had been wanting in the 
greater heat of New York. Here were barefooted 
children, white, and black, and brown. All the shops 
had awnings, with the greater part of the stock hang- 
ing from pegs and rails outside ; all the shopkeepers 
were lounging out on the pavement. Along the prin- 
cipal street stout brick buildings elbowed little one- 
storeyed wooden shanties, slowly dropping to pieces. 
Most of the houses were of wood — the better sort 
painted, the worse going to be painted some day, if 
there was any of them still left, when somebody felt 
equal to it. Even the finest houses, with green blinds 
rigidly shut on the sun, with shady trees, palms, and 
olives planted about them, with cool rocking-chairs in 
the freshness of the verandahs — even these would 
betray their Southern nature by a ragged fence of 
unpainted rails, reeling and staggering in the lightest 
breeze, because somebody was still thinking about 
knocking in a nail. The streets of square granite 

G 



98 IN THE SOUTH. 

blocks and the pavements of red bricks had none of 
the trim evenness of rortland or the better parts of 
Boston. They had bcmm lo rise into hills at Kich- 
mond ; in Wilmington they were alpine. Most of 
the streets were not even paved, but were barely 
fordable drifts of black sandy loam. The very electric 
cars — for not even the southernmost of American 
cities can forgo its electric cars — were empty and 
unpainted, and they seesawed along their undulating 
rails without spirit, as if the electricity had gone stale. 
Mules stumbled along, jerking rattling vans behind 
them. Here came a creaking bullock - cart, with a 
blue - bloused nigger swinging on a broken water- 
barrel inside it. And in the very midmost pavement 
of the market-place sat three hens, and the citizens 
strolled round to avoid starting them. Oh yes, this 
was unquestionably the South. 

Now I understand why my Northern friends had 
all warned me against the South. " There's nothing 
worth seeing," expostulated one and all. 

"Well, there's the Soutli," I urged. "A beastly 
country." "We've always had a kind of tenderness 
for it," I pleaded. " I know you have, ])ut lieaven 
knows what you ever saw attractive in it." To the 
hurrying, pushing Northern man, who is proud to 
profess and call himself a liustler, I believe there 
is sometliing almost humiliating in the fact that he 
is of the same nation as basking, dawdling, untidy 
Wilmington. In Ptichmond there was nothing to be 



IIESPECTABLE KICIIMOND. 99 

ashamed of ; for Eichmond, since the war left her 
a depopulated ruin sown with ashes, has advanced to 
be a llourishinrj manufacturinu; and trading town. 
Eichmond, moreover, though I should not call it in 
any sense a fine place, is decently clean, and wears a 
look of industry and thrift. It is not finished yet, of 
course — nothing is on this side of the Atlantic except 
poor Wilmington. But Eichmond looks prosperous 
and has public monuments, and at least has the 
interest of her battlefields, which are a perfectly 
respectable thing for any city to show. But Wil- 
mington ! What could be taking any sane man to 
Wilmington ? 

Yet even Wilmington is not without her modest 
industrial achievements. You approach her through 
miles and miles of straggling pinewood, and though 
the trade in resin and turpentine is largely worked 
out, and has gone further south, there is still a bit of a 
lumber export. Moreover, in AVilmington the British 
vice-consul, son of a Scotch West Indian, has built 
up the largest cotton export business in the whole 
of America. Three Liverpool-bound steamers lay at 
his wharves, and hour by hour the bales of cotton 
were swung aboard. In the warehouse, hour by hour, 
the huge cotton-press sent up a blast of screaming 
steam as it dealt with a fresh bale. Before they go 
under the press they are fat cushions of the ilulfy 
white stuff, as big as two of the biggest travelling- 
trunks you can conceive. A couple of panting niggers 



100 IN THE SOUTH. 

drag up the bundle and put it under the press. Great 
iron jaws grip it above and below, and look as if they 
must meet in it. Then the steam hisses out overhead, 
the jaws relax, and toss out a neat brick of compressed 
cotton no more than six inches thick, metal-bound 
and ready for shipping in five minutes. After all, 
why should Wilmington blush ? There is not the 
equal of this machine between the Chesapeake and 
Mexico. 

Indeed, the whole South — so the machine's master 
told me — is looking up commercially. Atlanta and 
Savannah are its show-places, but the advance runs 
almost along the whole line. The very farmers, he 
thought, are better off than they were three years ago. 
Then they staked their all on cotton, and imported 
the bacon they ate and the very hay for their horses 
from the West. Now they grow enough for them- 
selves, so that they stand to lose less on a bad or an 
excessive cotton crop — either of which is apt to spell 
ruin. 

And then the nigger. To the stranger of a day 
there is much entertainment in the nigger. But the 
born Southerner, or the Southerner by adoption, or 
even the Northerner who knows the South, sees no 
comedy in him. As I came South last night from 
Eichmond I conversed with two Northern men. One 
was a drummer — which is American for a bagman — 
from New York ; the other a Canadian, from far North 
of the Great Lakes — a stout - built, square - headed 



THE NIGGER. 101 

young man, short of a thumb on the riglit hand, who 
had sturdily exchanged 40° below zero for 100° in the 
shade, and manages a big lumber business in South 
Carolina. " I was in a hotel up North," said the 
traveller — it is hopeless to follow his rich profanity 
with any mere blanks — " and I went into the dining- 
room, and there was a nigger head- waiter, sir. Yes, 
sir — a nigger ordering white girls about ; I tell you 
that made me tired. Then this nigger head-waiter 
came, and showed me to a table with three niggers ! 
When I was paying my bill to go to another hotel, 
the clerk said, ' Why do you object to sit with the 
coloured gentlemen ? ' 'I didn't see any gentlemen,' 
says I ; ' I saw three buck niggers, if that's what you 
mean.' ' Ah,' he says, ' that race problem will never 
be solved.' ' Yes,' I says ; ' but it is solved in the 
South. It adjusts itself. Treat them as servants — 
that's all they're fit for — and if one gets fresh, shoot 
him.' " " Quite right," said the Canadian. 

This Canadian's views of the nigger had been arrived 
at after a perfectly unprejudiced study of him. " You 
know," he said to me, " they make a man lazy. If I 
go to Canada and get out at the station with two 
grips, everybody's got his own work to do, and I must 
carry them for myself. Down here there's half-a- 
dozen niggers would carry them miles for a nickel. 
Now, in Canada, you see the farmer ploughing his 
land, and all his sons, down to a little kid of twelve, 
working with him. In Texas you see the planter 



102 IN THE SOUTH. 

sitting with his feet up on the verandah all day, 
reading some fool newspaper with no profit in it. 
Then he lets off twenty-five acres here to John John- 
son, and twenty - five there to Tom Thomson, and 
another twenty - five to Bill Bilson. Then he turns 
his hack, and the nigger don't fertilise the land. He 
works one day, and the next he goes off to the next 
town to see a man hecause he didn't see him the day 
hefore. He's just like a monkey, the nigger. He's 
always idling about to see something new, or trying to 
learn some fool trick that nobody else can do, and 
that'll never be any good to him. He'd sooner go on 
a bicycle than in a train, and he'd sooner have a gun 
than money." 

It is quite true ; niggers are like monkeys. T liave 
been watcliing them all day. It is not only their 
backward sloping foreheads, and huge projecting lips. 
They squat about the street and jabber like monkeys ; 
they are always pinching each other or trying little 
tricks, such as throwing up a nut and catching it in 
the mouth. A black cannot even walk down the 
street without touching everything laid out before 
every shop he passes. I must own that it seems to 
me awful that these people should have votes, and in 
a town like Wilmington should actually have a ma- 
jority of votes. "They were made by the same 
Creator as made you," said a Northerner to me. Pos- 
sibly ; but they were certainly not made in the same 
way. " And how would you like it," broke in a white- 



Ar.AINST NATURE. 103 

haired Southerner, "if in Boston a crowd of people of 
no property, of no education, wanting, by reason of the 
history of their race, in truth and honour, sobriety and 
chastity, were in a position to tax your property, to 
waste your money, and to bring your Government to 
ruin ? " " Why, by the Lord ! " cried the Bostonian, 
" that's just what we have got in Boston — the Irish." 
" Try the nigger a few years, and you'll pray to have 
the Irish back again," was the reply. 

It is not quite so bad as that now. It was, though, 
just after the war, when a gang of Republican carpet- 
bajigers came down from the North and formed the 
new black voters into an organisation for legalised 
political plunder. Not that tlie nigger now gives any 
trouble. In Wilmington, as a gentleman told me who 
employs hundreds of them, the blacks are very tract- 
able. " The only jealousy comes from a class of white 
man so low as to compete industrially with them." 
He had had the same black family servants over forty 
years — since the days before the war. But even this 
friend of the negro was shocked at the idea of their 
mingling with the white race. " It produces a good- 
for-nothing mongrel, and demoralises the wliole popu- 
lation. You can see plainly that it is not the will of 
Providence," he went on, in all pious sincerity, " that 
the races should mix. If they intermarry, after fmu- 
or five mulatto children, there will come one quite 
black — a completely African type. No ; it is against 
the laws of Nature and of Heaven." 



104 IN THE SOUTH. 

So there the Soutlicni nigger lives — alongside of the 
white man, yet as far away from him as if he had 
never left the home of his grandfathers. He neither 
marries among them nor gives to them in marriage. 
A " c " — " coloured " — stands against his name in the 
directory. He has his own stores, for he would not 
be suffered inside those of the white. He may not 
stay in the same hotel, nor travel in the same railway- 
carriage, nor even worship beside the white ; there are 
separate coloured churches for coloured Christians. 
And he is quite happy and lazy, jolly and improvident. 
His eyes and his lips gleam with white eyeball and 
tooth when you look at him; he salaams when you 
speak to him, and fans you as you sit at table. He 
can supply all the wants that he is capable of feeling ; 
he is satisfied with his proper position of inferiority. 
The problem adjusts itself. 



105 



XIII. 



SOUTHEEN POLITICS. 



PiULADELrHiA, Scpttvihcr 2f). 

" This is the keenest election I ever was in, and the 
queerest." So spoke Senator Faulkner, chairman of 
the Democratic Congressional Committee at Washing- 
ton. The room was papered with portraits of William 
J. Bryan, of various approximations to a likeness, and 
carpeted with newspapers, maps, tracts on silver, and 
all the other litter of an election headquarters. " How 
the queerest ? " I asked. " Why, usually you can tell 
by the middle of October or before just about what 
vote can be gotten out on each side. This time there 
will be" — he paused a second with a wry face — 
" some rich Democrats who will go for M'Kinley or 
that little Indianapolis ticket. On the other hand, we 
shall get a lot of factory operatives that they count on. 
They wear a M'Kinley button, and you hear that only 
eight men in this factory or twelve in that are for 
Bryan. Wait till they get hold of the ballot paper. 
For the first time in the history of this country every 



lOG SOUTHERN POLITICS. 



big labour organisation is solid on the same side — 
on our side. For the first time in the history of this 
country, sir." 

" It must need a deal of organisation." " You may 
say so. We have an organisation — and so has the 
other side — that covers the whole country, and goes 
right up to headquarters. The smallest division is 
the precinct. The precinct reports to the county 
organisation, that to the Congressional district, that to 
the State, and that to the National organisation. In a 
precinct there will be only from fifty to a hundred and 
fifty voters, so they can't miss getting on to what vote 
each man's going to give. Then we know where we're 
weak and where we're strong. We neglect those 
States, and put all our literature and speakers into 
the doubtful ones. Do you see?" 

" I see. And what are the safe States and what arc 
the doubtful ones ? " " Well, we've almost given up 
the North." I may mention here that the unstable 
John Boyd Thacher, whose nomination at Buffalo 
under the influence of Tammany Hall I described a 
week ago, has behaved exactly as I said he would. 
He has issued a manifesto explaining quite shame- 
lessly that he is going to vote for the silver candidate, 
but that personally he is in favour of gold. There- 
upon public pressure has forced him to retire. Of 
course this has badly demoralised the Democrats in 
New York, and confusion has radiated thence all over 
the East. " In the South," resumed Senator Faulkner, 



now TO ELECT A PRESIDENT. 107 

"there are 159 electoral votes. We reckon to get 
all those, with the possible exception of two States. 
In the West, again, there are sixty-one votes, and we 
make sure of all those, with again the possible excep- 
tion of two small States. That makes 220 voices in 
the Electoral College, and 224 gives a majority for Mr 
Bryan. So even if we lose the four States I spoke 
of and gain any two of these central States — Ohio, 
Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and 
Michigan — then Mr Bryan will be elected." 

I ought to say, for those who have not threaded the 
mazes of the United States constitution, that the 
American people do not vote for their President 
directly. Each State chooses, on tlie basis of its 
population, so many voters, in the Electoral College of 
447, which then proceeds to make the election. This 
hardly seems an ideal democratic method, and many 
people condemn it. The man who gets a majority of 
the electors has not necessarily a majority on the 
popular vote. A bare majority in a big State choosing 
twenty or thirty electors may easily weigh down a 
wellnigh unanimous vote in half-a-dozen small ones. 
In 1884 a majority of 1150 in New York, which re- 
turns thirty-six electors, turned the whole election. 

Senator Faulkner's reckoning of the chances repre- 
sents the general ofticial and unofficial opinion of his 
side. They all refuse to hear a doubt about anything 
West of the Missouri, or South of Mason and Dixon's 
line. The only doubt is suggested by some Southern 



108 SOUTHEKN POLITICS. 

Democrats, who have the slenderest confidence in the 
honesty of their Populist allies. These think it very 
possible that if the electors were nearly equal for 
Bryan and M'Kinley, the money power, which is 
pretty nearly all on the Eepublican side, would be 
used to buy up a few eligible Populists. It would pay 
the monopolists of the great trusts, I was assured, to 
give a million apiece for enough of such commodities 
to turn the election. Only I should not care to be the 
deserting Populist when he went down South again, 
where men carry revolvers. And I can hardly doubt 
that the difficulty of getting Democrats and Populists 
to agree on a coalition list of electors and State candi- 
dates is a grave anxiety to Mr Bryan's managers. 
Senator Faulkner refused to admit this into his calcula- 
tions at all. Nevertheless, I quote his estimate of the 
chances, not because I believe much in it, or in any 
other public forecast at this stage, but because it is to 
a certain extent official, and because Mr Faulkner 
counted his chickens with a moderation that is con- 
spicuously absent in most such statements. The im- 
pression I took away was that he expected it to be a 
near thing, and, balancing everytliing, was not unpre- 
pared for defeat. 

At Eichmond I chanced upon General Buckner, the 
stout old Confederate soldier, who is candidate for 
Vice-President on behalf of the Gold Democrats, the 
Liberal Unionists of this campaign. I thought I 
might correct my Silver Democratic estimate with 



GENEr.AL BUCKNER. 109 

his aid. The battles and marches of thirty years back 
have left little enough mark on his hale figure ; the 
hearty voice and clear blue eye belie the flowing silver 
of his hair and the written record of his eighty years. 
Dressed in black broadcloth, with low waistcoat and 
white tie, he recalled the old English type of which 
Mr Jowett was the last. Though I never remember 
to have seen the late Master of Balliol smoking a long 
corn-cob pipe, nor did he usually receive visitors in 
the act of putting on his coat. General Buckner did 
both, and remained a courtly gentleman. 

About his own chance and that of his colleague 
General Palmer, he said little : everybody knows that 
they have none. But he was quite confident that 
their candidature meant the defeat of Mr Bryan. 
" I think you may assure your people that it's all 
right," he cried sturdily. To English ideas it may 
appear strange that this candidature should help Mr 
M'Kinley ; it seems like helping a Tory to beat a 
Eadical by running a Liberal Unionist. But in the 
United States a man is more liable to vote against 
his principles than against his party. " And do you 
think," I inquired, " there's any danger of serious 
trouble ? " " Oh no," smiled the man who in his day 
had really fought against the Union. "We take 
these things very keenly at the time, but we're as 
good friends as ever when the fight's over. One or 
two million Democrats will have come back and be 
voting with us for the gold standard two years hence." 



110 SOUTHERN POLITICS. 

How likely this may be it is not for me to say. 
But one thing at least is tolerably certain : the South 
will go dead against the North now and in the future 
in any way it gets a chance. I had imagined before 
I went South that the war feeling was dead and buried 
years ago : I was astonished at the bitterness that 
survives. In the train to Eichmond was a Virginian 
gentleman returning from abroad, and for a long time 
he refused to take into his conversation a third pas- 
senger who sat in a corner of the little smoking- 
compartment. He thought he was a Northerner. 
But presently he discovered that this too was a 
Southern man, a North Carolinian. In two minutes 
they were side by side, comparing this general with 
that, and exchanging stories of the battles they had 
been in. After the Virginian had gone I talked with 
the other. " Do you know, sir," he said, " that the 
United States Government is publishing all the rec- 
ords of the war. Federal and Confederate together? 
And these records show, sir, that to the North's four 
million we never had more than six hundred thousand 
men. One of their own colonels has admitted that on 
no one day, what with wounds and sickness, and never 
knowing when the negroes would not rise and kill the 
women, could the South put more than two hundred 
thousand men in line. Why, at the end, at Appomat- 
tox, with Lee, there were no more than nine thousand 
rifles surrendered. Lee was always weak ; he always 
had to be thinking of some device to get even with 



THE DAYS OF RECONSTRUCTION. Ill 

'em. Ah, sir, he was every inch a general, was Lee." 
I told him that in England we had always thought 
so. "Yes; a few people have done us justice. But 
the North has the ear of the world ; they write the 
books and issue tlie publications, and we sit here at 
home, and nobody ever thinks of us any more." 

I was amazed to find this smouldering passion — the 
more so as tliis instance was not an isolated one. I 
think it comes less from vengeful memories of the 
war than from what followed after the war. When 
the blacks became free men and voters, there de- 
scended from the North a gang of the most unscru- 
pulous Republican bosses. These political pirates 
organised and led the negroes, and bled the country 
till it was white as veal. The debt of North Carolina 
alone went up to thirty million dollars, and the more 
the debt grew the more the taxes grew. Money was 
not accounted for, was not spent ; it simply melted 
away. At last the patience of the whites broke, and 
in South Carolina was formerly the organisation of 
the Red Shirts. They put up a Southern general for 
Governor, and wherever he was to speak about a 
thousand red-shirted whites would sling their rifles 
over their shoulders, saddle their horses, and ride off 
to demonstrate. " I was not in favour of it," said my 
North Carolinian friend. " I never said a word in 
favour of it. But they intimidated those niggers, sir, 
to admiration." In North Carolina the power of the 
ring was not broken till 1876. That is twenty years 



112 SOUTHERN POLITICS. 

ago, but for all the healing time has done it might 
have been yesterday. The Eepublicans of the North 
have been paying the penalty of their corruption ever 
since. The result of the years of spoliation is that 
for a white man to proclaim himself Eepublican in 
the South is almost a repudiation of his race — a 
step back beside the nigger and towards the brute. 
That is why the National Democratic candidature is 
expected to do such good to the cause of gold in 
the South. Democrat is a synonym for white man, 
and the white man can be expected to vote for no 
candidate who appeals to any other name. 

As to the real extent of agricultural depression I 
have heard various opinions. I quoted in my last 
chapter the view of the first man of business in 
Wilmington ; he thought things had improved. 
General Buckner held much the same view. " The 
losses of the farmers," he said, "have been much 
exaggerated by agitators. Both farmers and planters 
live in the greatest comfort. The only thing they 
have to complain of is that they have spoilt their 
market for money by their own folly in supporting 
free silver. The banks are afraid of a run on them 
if Mr Bryan succeeds, and they are calling in their 
loans." On the other hand, a leading Southern editor, 
who should know, and certainly was quite sincere, 
told me that the losses by the depreciation of prices 
had been terrible. In Georgia alone, he said, they 
had been computed at thirty-two million dollars. 



MR CLEVELAND S PARTIALITY. 113 

Another source of bitterness and of "rave danger 
in the South, this gentleman told me, is irritation 
against President Cleveland. The South believed 
in 1892 that it was electing a bimetallist, and I 
was told that more than one member of his Cabinet 
was virtually pledged to bimetallism. The President 
turned out a stout supporter of the gold standard, 
and now he and many of his Ministers have written 
letters and made speeches on behalf of Generals 
Palmer and Buckner, and the Indianapolis ticket. 
At the same time, the President is believed to have 
offered the choice between silence and dismissal to 
certain subordinate officials who have given active 
support to Mr Bryan. I think it must be owned 
that the President's conduct has been partial. For 
a Civil Service reformer to dismiss some holder of 
a 100 - dollar post - office for his political opinions 
is neither very consistent nor very dignified, " These 
things make men mad," said the editor. "It's bad 
enough in the towns, but the farmers are worse. 
They're fighting mad, sir. I know half-a-dozen who 
are ready to take their guns and come out at this 
moment." 

It is always difficult to say how much set purpose 
there is behind talk like this. The Northern men 
laughed at the idea. But they also laughed a genera- 
tion ago until tlie first gun boomed out war at Fort 
Sumter. Whether Bryan wins or loses there is like 
enough to be a good deal of financial distress tliis 

H 



114 SOUTHERN POLITICS. 

winter. I do not say that the excitement and ill-will 
may not die suddenly away by the second week of 
November, as it traditionally does. On the whole, 
so far as I am competent to have an opinion, I should 
say it will. Yet nothing would surprise me less than 
to find that this time it does not. Perhaps the South 
will wait for the signal of red revolt to be held out in 
some other part of the country — the West or some 
industrial centre. If that signal should ever come, 
it will find the South ready. 



115 



XIV. 



PHILADELPHIA. 



Philadelphia, September 29, 
It was only by luck that I left Philadelphia until the 
last of Eastern cities, but good luck it certainly was. 
Philadelpliia is the most English of them all — English, 
that is, not in the way of outward seeming or slavish 
mimicry, but in the cu'cumstances of its growth, and 
the life and character of its people. Here is the purest 
Anglo-Saxon citizen body among all the large centres. 
Here is less luxury than elsewhere, but more comfort, 
and comfort extending deeper down. New York is a 
city of offices and palaces ; Boston of parks and villas ; 
Washington of public buildings and houses let for 
the season. Philadelphia is a city of homes. Of 
its two hundred tliousand families it has been esti- 
mated that seven-eighths live in self-contained houses, 
who elsewhere would be in Ihits or tenements, and 
that three-quarters of tliese own the houses they 
live in. 

After the others, Philadelpliia strikes you as beyond 



116 PHILADELrHIA. 

all things a civilised city— a city where people some- 
times have a little leisure. Elsewhere they do busi- 
ness or seek pleasure ; here they live. The very 
names of the streets — Chestnut, Walnut, Vine, 
Spruce, Pine — have a fresh and wholesome breath 
about them. It may be fancy, but the women here 
seem prettier and the men better set up. The New 
Yorker takes a tram-car to go a quarter of a mile, and 
grows fat; here the physical type is more athletic. 
The richer Philadelphians live out in the country 
and ride to hounds ; the poorest rides a bicycle. The 
typical American woman's face— long, thin, pale, pure- 
eyed, like an early Italian Madonna — is liere richer 
and less austere. Middle-class you may call the place, 
with its endless rows of sober red brick ; but middle- 
class with little of dowdiness, and much of rational 
stability. If there are few notable buildings, there are 
few slums. If few people are very prosperous, few arc 
very wretched. In sum, the Philadelphians get more 
happiness per head out of their city than any other 
townsmen in America. 

Philadelphia, like London, has made itself. Spread- 
ing from a commercial centre, it has felt its way out 
to the fringe of manufacturing towns round it, and 
woven them into a piece of itself with streets on 
streets of artisans' dwellings. The old business city 
is on the tongue between the Delaware and Schuylkill 
rivers. As it extended and made itself fast to dis- 
tricts beyond, the value of land in the centre went 



EQUABLE PROSPERITY. 117 

up but slowly. Ill New York, a man with an old 
house in the heart of the city must tear it down to 
put up a twelve-storeyed skyscraper, or must make 
ready to be taxed out of existence. In Philadelphia 
the rise in land value has been continuous, but it has 
been steady. For result you have houses standing in 
busiest Chestnut Street, that fifty years ago were 
country villas. You have walls and windows that 
looked down on the Eevolutioii. Wliile this equable 
prosperity came over the centre, there grew up the 
tracts of undistinguished houses round about it. 
There are a hundred and fifty thousand of them, 
and you can no easier tell them apart than peas out 
of a pod. But in these houses the Philadelphian 
workman lives and dies ; his son lives and dies tliere 
after him ; and his grandson after his son. Among 
the poor it happens nowhere else in America, and 
seldom enough in Europe. In Philadelphia this local 
attachment is characteristic of rich and poor alike. 

There are born of this principle of habitation many 
salutary features of civic life. The fact that Phila- 
delphia's municipal debt is going down touches me 
but little ; the fact that her streets, alone among those 
I have yet seen, are decently and smoothly paved with 
asphalt, moves me to approbation ; the fact that Phila- 
delphia made the electric road-car companies pay for 
the improvement commands my unrestrained enthu- 
siasm. The municipal government of this city has 
its interest as the product less of a few commanding 



118 PHILADELPHIA. 

personalities than of tlic general momentum of a lialf- 
uneonscioiis public. So with society. Because these 
people live year in, year out, in their own homes, 
there grows up between them the bond of a neigh- 
bourly friendship such as exists in few cities even 
in the Old World. Then again, there are scores of 
building associations, friendly societies, clubs, religious 
guilds, and the like. Wages are good ; add to that 
these interests, every one managed by the clerks and 
artisans who constitute their membership, and you 
have the makings of a happy life. 

A friend of mine here has two servants, quadroon 
girls : they get their board and lodging and wages, 
equal to about £50 a-year. Both of them have 
just bought bicycles. One of them is a prominent 
member of the Zion Methodist African Episcopal 
Church. One day her master was going to speak 
in public. " Mary," he said, " you've often wished to 
hear me speak ; you can come to-night if you like." 
" I should love to hear you, sah," answered Mary ; 
" but I'm speaking myself to - night." She is now 
selling among her personal acquaintances alone a 
hundred and sixty dollars' worth of tickets for the 
Z.M.A.E.C.'s annual celebration. A bicycle, public 
speaking, and a circle of friends equal to taking £32 
wortli of tickets for a celebration — the life of that 
little yellow girl cannot be a very dull or unhappy 
one. 

As for young men, there is no end to their societies 



WORK AND PLAY. 119 

and orders. My same friend had a lad in his employ 
at five dollars a- week : this is only a lad's wages, for 
an unskilled man can always get his dollar a-day if 
he is steady, and skilled mechanics command anything 
upward of nine dollars. That must be put against 
higher prices on this side the Atlantic. A journalist 
told me that he worked with a compositor who, 
having a fancy for the opera, used to come to the 
office in evening dress as often as he did himself. It 
was his fancy, and he could afford to give it play. 
One day, to resume, the lad before mentioned appeared 
at the office with a queer-shaped parcel. It turned 
out on investigation to be a stage sword of the most 
magnificent proportions, — price four dollars. He was 
to wear it that evening as a Knight of Malta, of 
which honourable order he was a member. There 
cannot be much wrong with the social conditions of 
a city where at seventeen, and on a pound a-week, 
you can be a Knight of Malta. 

But the neighbourly association which Philadelphia 
has been able to develop has also its pecuniary side ; 
it would hardly be American if it had not. When 
Tom, the Knight of Malta, comes to be twenty-five 
years old, he will be desiring to marry. If he has 
not dissipated too much on the pomp of chivalry, he 
will by that time have saved perhaps five hundred 
dollars. His wife will have been five or six years 
behind the counter of a store, earning from four to 
seven dollars a-week, and, living in her father's house, 



120 PHILADELPHIA. 

she also will have saved five hundred dollars. Tom 
is a member of a building association in his neighbour- 
hood, which has a membership purely of mechanics, 
and is managed entirely by its members. Tom and 
his wife set up in a little house costing two or three 
thousand dollars ; it is paid for, over and above the 
savings, by two mortgages— one to the builder, one 
to the association whereto Tom is a contributor. All 
the members know Tom. They guess he is a steady 
and punctual payer, so they lend the money to him 
rather than to plausible Jerry, who offers a couple 
per cent more interest, but has little reputation for 
paying cash. In ten or fifteen years, with decent 
luck, the mortgages are paid off, and the house is 
the property of the occupiers. There is a ground- 
rent to pay, but it is constant for ever. It can 
never be raised, and the benefit of the unearned 
increment goes to Tom : he can even extinguish the 
ground -rent at eighteen years' purchase or there- 
abouts. It may be that the family has increased 
beyond the limit of the six- or eight-roomed house to 
which he first brought home his wife. Then Tom 
rents a bigger one, and lets the other; but he has 
always the original house to go back to when his 
children leave him for six-roomed homes of their 
own. Tom ends his days as a householder, and an 
owner of real estate. If he has done well, he is the 
owner not only of the one house, but perhaps of 
the next and the next. The acres of little undis- 



IkLAJSrUFACTOKIES. 1 2 1 

tinguisliud streets that you may wander through 
unprofitably for hours are the savings bank of the 
thrifty Philadelphian. 

There is plenty of good work for Tom in and about 
the city, if he knows his business and will do it. 
Times are bad just now, it is true, and work will be 
scarce until after the election, and then afterwards 
— who knows? Yet Philadelphia has half-a-dozen 
factories, any one of which may put in a not un- 
reasonable claim to be the biggest of its kind in the 
world. There is Cramp's shipbuilding - yard, which 
has just got an order for one of the new Yankee 
battleships, and is expecting another for a coujile 
of cruisers from Japan. Then there is Baldwin's 
locomotive works. By the courtesy of the firm I 
was shown over this famous factory the other day. 
In 1831 there was built here the first American loco- 
motive, and the firm is now at about its fifteen 
thousandth. From the sixteen acres of its shops 
and sheds it can turn out the equivalent of three 
railway engines and one-third in a day. From the 
first drawing of the plans only eight days of pattern- 
making, moulding, casting, forging, riveting, and mill- 
ing lead up to the moment when the electric crane 
picks up the two hundred tons of completed engine 
and slings it like a packing-case on to the rails where 
it is to live and die. The locomotive engine is begotten 
as a page in an order-book, with every detail of con- 
struction and dimension carefully specified, so that if 



122 PHILADELPHIA. 

any part of it goes wrong in after-life it can be 
replaced infallibly by mere reference to a date and 
number. From that point on I saw every phase of 
its incubation until it goes forth full-grown to wage 
its lifelong war on the fiend distance. Here was the 
laboratory to test the chemical composition of the 
materials and the gauge. Here a man was brushing 
out the crumbs from the plumbago mould of a wheel. 
There another was making the core of clay kneaded 
round a skeleton of iron, which marks the place of 
daylight in the mould : when the molten metal is 
poured in and cooled the embedded clay is knocked 
out, and the open parts of the wheel appear. Behind 
him the bits of iron from the scrap-heap were being 
carefully built up like a child's house of bricks, against 
the time when, cased in wood and sandwiched in slag, 
they should be turned into the furnace. Now with 
a fiery blast a furnace opens, and out of the jaws of 
hell swings a white - hot mass of iron. The crane 
guides it on to the anvil, and the great steam-hammer 
comes down and punches and flattens it into shape 
as a boy squeezes a snowball. In the next room is 
a milling tool of tempered steel hollowing out the 
curves in a connecting rod of annealed steel ; in 
the next a cutter of tempered steel sharpening the 
knives in a milling tool of annealed. Such is the 
cunning of man to make steel the instrument that 
tames its kindred steel to his service. 

Above that again, on the top storey, was a row of 



NOT ALWAYS IN A HURRY. 123 

great engine-tenders waiting their turn to be painted. 
Did you ever think of railway tenders as being put to 
bed by the dozen up four Higlits of stairs ? Perhaps 
you (hd. Perliaps you know all about it, and will tell 
me I did not need to come three thousand miles to see 
how locomotive engines are made. But answer me 
this riddle, British engineer ! Here was an engine 
waiting to go to Canada ; here another being packed 
for New Zealand, and another for Japan ; here another 
being carved up into two-hundred-and -fifty-pound 
fractions, that are to climb a mountain road on mule- 
packs in Venezuela. That may be all comprehensible. 
But why must men come, like me, three thousand 
miles to Philadelphia when they want railway engines 
in Barcelona and Jerusalem, in Christiania and Riga ? 
Answer me that, British engineer ! 

But I am no engineer. I will leave that and walk 
again along the street of Germantown, and admire the 
simple lines of the old stone-built houses hiding dis- 
creetly behind their ivy in the recesses of their lawns 
and of their oaks and elms. I will dawdle again by 
the ripples of Wissahickon Creek, and smear my boots 
with the heaped up chestnuts and acorns and the red 
leaves. Or I will go along Chestnut Street at sunset 
and watch the stream of well-built I'hiladelphians, 
who have worked hard, and are now going to rest. If 
I ask my way, and then say " Thank you," they will 
have time to re[)ly, " You're very welcome." Give me 
a city where somebody sometimes is not in a hurry. 



124 



XV. 



AT THE SHRINE OF M'KINLEY. 

Canton, Oiim, October 1. 
" It's a wash-out," said the nigger who makes up the 
beds in the sleeper. I did not quite know what a 
wash-out was, but I was certain that when I woke up 
at six the train was very much in the same place as 
it was when I went to bed at eleven, liain had been 
falling till Philadelphia was more like Niagara, and 
yet the stuffy heat had been sucli that it was impos- 
sible to move without gasping for air. When I looked 
out of the window yesterday morning the clear sun- 
shine was struggling to get the better of the early 
frost. I got up and took a morning constitutional on 
the line, and there learnt the truth. 

The rivers had risen and the winds had blown, and 
a bridge between us and Pittsburgh had been carried 
away. After seven hours of alternate standstill and 
going back, we were now about to fetch a circuit of a 
matter of a hundred and fifty miles on to the main 
line again. So we climbed meekly on board, and 



THROUGH PENNSYLVANIA. 125 

clotheless, breakfastless, and with the certainty of 
being ten to twelve hours late everywhere, off we 
went. I had never given the Americans credit for 
being a patient people, and I was astonished at their 
philosophy. They smiled, and appeared to take it as 
a natural incident of railway travel — unfortunate, but 
no way astonishing. If it had happened in England, 
every man would have fallen incontinently to writing 
to his favourite newspaper. Here but one man went 
so far as to write a telegram. 

The train strolled leisurely on through the un- 
kempt-looking fields of central Pennsylvania, where 
the farmer is content with three acres of maize and a 
cow, and looks on increase of crops or stock as in- 
crease of trouble. Presently we climbed the wooded 
mountains — now dappled with every colour from 
living green to crimson and the intensest yellow — that 
form the watershed between the eastward streams and 
the great Mississippi basin. Then we raced down by 
the turbid brown freshet of the Alleghany river. 
Here is the Black Country of America. Hence to the 
furthest West stretches a broad belt of coal, so gener- 
ous that the country-people have only to break a hole 
in the hillside and take out all their winter's supply. 
Here also is iron, and in the fading daylight we ran 
between banks of coal, rising overhead on each side of 
the line, through clouds of choking grey smoke, through 
flames leaping from tall chimneys and flickering away 
in narrowinc; avenues to the lurid horizon. 



12G AT THE SIIUINE OF M'KINLEY. 

At Pittsburgh came newspapers and details of the 
great storm. It was the greatest the world had ever 
seen — at least the greatest for a long time. Had it 
not carried clean away the greatest bridge in the 
world — that is, the greatest of its own particular 
kind ? To find enougli greatest things on earth to go 
round such a large continent, it may be here observed, 
necessitates a good deal of rather minute subdivision. 
The big cities have the greatest thing on earth right 
out ; the small ones invent a special brand of it, and 
have the greatest on earth of that. As for tlie storm, 
it was a very great one, and T doul)t not that the 
newspaper correspondents on this side will have done 
it full justice. I can add nothing to them, for I was 
asleep through the thick of it. 

There appeared in the train at Pittsburgh, or there- 
abouts, a phenomenon of far more interest to the 
philosophic mind than a hundred of the greatest 
storms and washes -out ever seen. This was Mr 
M'Kinley's brother. It will probably be news to 
most Pritons that Mr M'Kinley so much as has a 
brother. Yet in the spectacle of that brother in the 
smoking-compartment American democracy was writ 
so large as few people have the luck to see it. He 
was not unlike the pictures of the candidate. He was 
stout, and his trousers were tight ; so very obviously 
were his boots. Of his discourse it is not needful to 
speak ; it was shrewd and good-humoured rather than 
grammatical. He was not uniiiiiidrid of the spittoon. 



HIS BllOTHEK. 127 

He talked quite freely about his celebrated brother, 
and lie talked to everybody who liked to talk with 
liini. The waiters in the dining-car chaffed him, and 
the conductor slapped him on the back. This morning 
I met him again in a Canton newspaper office ; he 
was diverting his mind with a little larking among 
the reporters. Now, do try to imagine it. When you 
can conceive the brother of the man who has more 
than an even chance of becoming the first citizen 
among sixty millions larking with provincial news- 
paper reporters and slapped on the back by the con- 
ductor of a railway-train — wliy, then you will l)e a 
good step on towards the comprehension of the United 
States of America. 

There was instruction again to be gleaned when I 
reached Canton and sallied out this morning in the 
drizzling aftermath of the great storm. In England 
you would look for the man who is going to be Presi- 
dent in London ; in France, where but in Paris ? He 
might have been born where he liked, but in the 
capital he would surely be found. In the United 
States the man whose name and features confront you 
in every corner of their millions of square miles lives 
in a two-storeyed wooden house in a little town that 
but for him nobody would ever have heard of. Not 
but what Canton also has its greatest things on earth, 
as the Cantonese will take early occasion to inrorm 
you. .lust now it has two. One is but temporary — 
the silver bullion statue which formed the exhibit of 



128 AT THE SHRINE OF M'KINLEY. 

Montana at the World's Fair. In due time it is to 
take its rightful place in Montana's Capitol, but Mon- 
tana's Capitol is not yet built, and it is filling up its 
time with starring in the provinces. The other is a 
watch-case factory, which, being ignorant how watch- 
cases are made and desirous to remain so, I did not 
visit. Still, when all is said and done. Canton has no 
more than 40,000 inhabitants at the outside. This 
is not so big but that a good proportion of its citizens 
know Mr M'Kinley to speak to, and nearly all by 
sight. His mother still lives here in a tiny cottage 
by the roadside. And here he sits among his fellow- 
citizens, and waits to be made the governor of the 
largest civilised population in the world. There is a 
democracy among towns as among men, and it has 
been well said that if the United States have no 
capital they have also no provinces. The good side of 
this is that otherwise such democracy must quickly 
crush out individuality. The dubious side of it is the 
frequent opinion that, " If Bill M'Kinley gets in, he 
ought to do something for Canton." But, whether for 
one reason or the other, there is no doubt about Can- 
ton's enthusiasm for its citizen. I walked to his house 
under banner after banner ; no shop window and few 
private houses lacked at least one of his portraits. 
So I came to the two - storeyed wooden house with 
green window - frames and red shutters, one of a 
row. Before it was a broken fence, part iron, part 
wood. Also the place where a lawn should have been, 



THE CANDIDATE. 129 

but not a blade had the feet of pious pilgrims left 
there. 

If you want to see a Presidential candidate you 
ring the bell and walk in and see him. That is what 
he is there for. I rang and walked in ; Mr M'Kinley 
was sitting on a rocking-chair in a little office not ten 
feet from the door. His strong, clean-shaven face has 
a suggestion of Charles Bradlaugh ; there is the same 
lofty and massive forehead, the same mastiff power of 
chin and jaw. Clear eyes, wide nose, full lips — all his 
features suggest dominant will and energy rather than 
subtlety of mind or emotion. He had on the frock- 
coat in which he was presently to address deputations, 
and loosely tied brown slippers in which he was not. 
He also was not unmindful of the spittoon. Yet with 
that he is gifted with a kindly courtesy that is plainly 
genuine and completely winning. I am no more pre- 
judiced in favour of the apostle of Protection than 
any other Englishman ; yet it was impossible not to 
feel — absurd as it seemed — that he was really glad to 
see a wandering newspaper correspondent from the 
country against which his whole policy has for years 
been directed. Not to be tedious, his personality pre- 
sents a rare combination of strength and charm. Put 
when it came to the question of being interviewed, 
though the charm remained, the strength got the bet- 
ter of it. No. He had made it a rule from the first 
moment of his candidature, and in no single instance 
had he departed from it. He was quite ready to ad- 

I 



130 AT THE SHRINE OF M'KINLEY. 

mit that the contest was peculiarly well worth coming 
to see; indeed, he was inclined to believe that the 
whole country was an interesting one. He went so 
far as to presume that the election was of some im- 
portance to many people even outside the United 
States. But to be interviewed — the indomitable chin 
began to tighten up on the masterful jaw, and I left 
off asking him. 

Well, if I could not interview, at least I could be 
interviewed. So Mr M'Kinley turned me over with a 
gracious farewell to some of his political and journal- 
istic friends. In a word, he made me free of Canton. 
I have no doubt that its citizens will by now have 
enjoyed a spirited account of me in general, and of 
my opinions on the United States and their own 
good town in particular. I may not see it, as I am 
leaving by this evening's fast train. In the mean- 
time Mr M'Kinley's staff provided me with refresh- 
ment, and took me to see a delegation. Three special 
trains, swathed in golden-yellow bunting, came clank- 
ing in, and a whooping, screaming multitude surged 
out on to the platform. Every man, woman, and child 
wore a brilliant yellow badge, and most added yellow 
flowers, yellow caps, a portrait of M'Kinley, a tinsel 
emblem of devotion to the gold standard, a fancy 
button, and a miniature edition of the Stars and 
Stripes. You could not move on the platform, and 
you could not hear yourself speak. What a hopeless 
mob ! But suddenly " Fall in ! " cried a voice. And 



1 



THE PROCESSION. 131 

before I quite knew what was happening the multi- 
tude had left the station and was formed up four 
abreast in the street beyond. Then the word was 
given to march. First came the leader on a grey 
horse, clear ahead. Then a rank of mounted mar- 
shals, every man with his badge and decorations, the 
horses with ribbons on the bridles and Stars and 
Stripes for saddle - cloths. Behind them came two 
carriages abreast, tricked out in every colour in which 
bunting is made. Then three huge ensigns, and 
almost as huge a mastiff, neck and tail tied up in 
golden yellow, led solemnly in a yellow leash. Then 
a gold -laced brass band. After them a long pro- 
cession of ladies, all the black jackets splashed with 
yellow ; and after them a company of men with red, 
white, and blue umbrellas displayed. Next a great 
yellow banner with the name and style of the depu- 
tation — Portage County, Ohio. Then a battalion of 
men, all in blazing yellow caps, and then a band of 
boys ; then another battalion of men ; then another 
band ; more men with a banner ; another band ; more 
ensigns ; more banners — white this time, with coloured 
devices ; tlicn another battalion in yellow slouch hats 
to bring up the rear. Every man kept step. The 
whole array was so long that each band could hardly 
carry far enough to mark the time for its own par- 
ticular division. Yet it never lost step or broke its 
formation. Horse and foot, men and women, a kaleido- 
scope of yellow and red and blue, music crashing, and 



132 AT THE SHRINE OF M'KINLEY. 

colours flaunting, the long column wound itself in and 
out and about the streets of Canton. 

When Mr M'Kinley came forward in the tabernacle 
to speak — it was too dripping wet to receive them at 
his porch — the place was like a field of buttercups, 
but buttercups leaping into the air and yelling them- 
selves hoarse. His speech was not long, and, to tell 
the truth, it was not interesting. He is no orator as 
Bryan is. Indeed he is almost the least effective 
public speaker I have heard here. He read his ad- 
dress from a paper held before him, not without a 
stumble or two: he was distinct and dignified, but 
after the pageantry and the shouting it was some- 
thing of a fall to the commonplace. He pointed out 
with great force that Portage County was the finest 
in the States. But there was neither argument nor 
eloquence, and though for the peroration he imported 
a thrill into his voice it did not pass to his hearers. 
I suppose he and they could not help remembering 
that he had said much the same to the last county, 
and would repeat it in a few hours to the next. The 
next has come in and marched up by now, has been 
addressed, and has shed itself over the town. As I 
close this up Canton is still dotted with dandelions, 
and I hear the boys crying the ' Evening Eepository.' 
As I said, my engagements compel me to leave by this 
evening's fast train. 



133 



XVI. 



AXTI-EXGLAND. 



Chicago, October 3. 
" The eyes of the soldiers glared upon the people like 
hungry bloodhounds. The captain waved his sword. 
The red -coats pointed their guns at the crowd. Tn 
a moment the flash of their muskets lighted up llie 
street ; and eleven Xew England men fell bleedin" 
upon the snow. Some, sorely wounded, were strug- 
gling Lo rise again. Others stirred not nor groaned, 
for they were past all pain. Blood was stream- 
ing upon tlie snow; and though tliat purple stain 
melted away in tlie next day's sun, it was never 
forgotten nor forgiven by the people. ... .V 
battle took place between a large force of Tories 
and Indians and a hastily organised force of patri- 
otic Americans. The Americans were defeated with 
horrible slaughter, and many of those wlio were 
made prisoners were put to death by tiendisli tor- 
ture. . . . The village of Wilkesbarre was burnt, 
and women and children perished hi the dismal 



134 ANTI-ENGLAND. 

swamp in which they had sought refuge. . . . The 
English would often hang a dozen American pris- 
oners without a moment's warning. . . . More than 
six thousand American sailors had been seized by 
British warships and pressed into the hated service 
of a hated nation." 

All of this, and any amount more to the same 
purpose, comes from the books whence the Ameri- 
can child imbibes at school his first notions of the 
history of his country. I bought up an armful of 
them in a second-hand book - shop, to make sure 
that everybody was not wrong in imputing to them 
a great part of the unfriendliness with which we 
are regarded in this country. For that such un- 
friendliness exists, in greater or less degree, in every 
class and every quarter of the United States, there 
is unhappily no doubt whatever. It is not always 
apparent on the surface, but it is always there be- 
neath it. In the present campaign, it is true, anti- 
English feeling is not in the forefront; but that 
is, in a way, an accident. Hitherto the expression 
of such feeling has been something of a Eepublican 
monopoly. But in this campaign the free silver 
people took the cry out of their mouths. "Are 
you to have your financial policy dictated to you 
by England ? Did our fathers buy our freedom 
with their blood that wc should surrender it to 
English gold ? " This is Mr Bryan's appeal in 
almost every speech. " I would sooner see our 



THE INFLUENCE OF HISTORY. 135 

army under a foreign general than our money sys- 
tem under foreign control," I heard him say at 
Washington, and the crowd repeated it, and said, 
" That's good." " You shall not crucify mankind 
upon a cross of gold," in the speech that won him 
his nomination — I have heard it in the phonograph 
— was an apostrophe to England. With all this 
sentiment on the other side, the Eepublicans are 
compelled to give Britain a rest this time. It fol- 
lows that Anglophobia is called upon to play only 
an indirect part in this campaign. But that part 
it plays steadily. Few speeches are without their 
reference to Britain, and it is often, implicitly if 
not explicitly, an unfriendly one. As for any eulo- 
gistic or friendly qualification, such as would usually 
accompany the mention of the United States in a 
public speech among us, there is never a hint of it. 

Is tliat surprising ? The Americans have a very 
keen feeling for their past history ; it is far more 
alive to them than ours to us. The Crimean War 
is to us an incident of long ago which we have 
long ago got, as we think, into its proper focus. 
We may love Russia or we may not ; but the Crim- 
ean AVar is no factor in our disposition either way. 
Here the Eevolutionary War is as much a matter of 
personal right or wrong as it was a hundred years 
ago. It is kept alive by the numberless anniversaries 
and quinquennials and semi-centenaries in whicli the 
Americans take continual delight. Each of the mas- 



136 ANTI- ENGLAND. 

sacres recounted in the history-books is commemorated 
and crystalHsed for ever by a monument. Whether 
it was done by us or by Americans, by Indians or not 
at all, it is all put down to the account of the British. 
The very name of Washington is a continual reminder 
that England is the enemy. It is deplorable ; but 
how could it be otherwise ? Except for small wars 
with France and Mexico, the United States have 
engaged in no foreign conflicts but with us. Each 
popular history is one long inculcation, if not of dis- 
like, at least of distrust and profound suspicion. 

It must not be supposed that every American is 
itching to be at our throats, — nothing of the kind. 
But even that would be nearer the truth than to be- 
lieve that there is any sentiment of the kind that we 
have long entertained towards the United States, and 
which still survives in part the awakening of last 
December. We talk of this country as our daughter, 
and of war with it as unnatural, unheard of, impos- 
sible. It may not mean much, but the sentiment, if 
Platonic, is absolutely sincere. But to the American, 
the champion of arbitration, war is always a present 
possibility — with anybody at any moment. This 
seems a paradox, but it is easily explicable. The mem- 
ory of the Civil War is kept alive by every possible 
device — historical articles, official publications, clubs 
of veterans, clubs of veterans' sons, monuments to 
every leader and every regiment, celebrations of every 
battle at every anniversary. It is hardly an cxagger- 



BELLICOSE AMERICA. 137 

ation to say that no American newspaper is published 
any day of the three hundred and sixty-five which 
does not contain at least one allusion to the war. The 
very political demonstrations are organised on a mili- 
tary model ; no nation in the world is more fond of 
playing at soldiers. War, therefore, to the present 
generation of Americans is not far enough ofif to be 
inconceivable, while it is just too far for the personal 
recollection of its horrors. And to these twin facts, 
as well as to a certain impulsiveness and irresponsi- 
bility ill affairs, may probably be assigned the belli- 
cose spirit which unquestionably comes over this 
country from time to time. 

Now, granted the bellicose disposition, why should 
it not be directed against us ? We may call this 
country daughter, but it does not call us motlier. We 
were a stepmother at the best, and are no longer even 
that. Most families of pure English descent have 
been in this hemisphere so long that they have be- 
come American and nothing else. As for the Ger- 
mans, Iri.sh, Scandinavians, Italians, I'oles, and Bo- 
liemians, wlio make up nearly half of the population, 
for instance, of Chicago, and more than a quarter of 
the urban population of the whole country — what 
cause liave they to call us mother ? On the contrary, 
they import the bitter Continental jealousy of us, 
and here it finds a most congenial soil. The United 
States is not an old nation as nations go, but after all 
it is old enougii to stand for itself and to do without 



138 ANTI-ENGLAND. 

a mother. It wants no pap from us. The sooner 
we put that fancy out of our heads the better for our 
mutual understanding. We must be judged on our 
record in history, and on the showing of American 
school-books that record is as bad as it could be. 

" The best thing for the relations of the two coun- 
tries," said an American journalist to me, " would be 
that neither should ever see the other's newspapers." 
Unquestionably there is a good deal in that. The 
first thing I saw in New York was a lurid description 
of the tortures which had driven Dr Gallagher and 
his fellow-dynamiter mad, reinforced by an illustra- 
tion representing an English warder flogging a half- 
naked prisoner. It must be remembered that the 
ordinary untravelled American is almost more blankly 
ignorant of Europe and its ways than the ordinary 
European is of America. A newspaper editor asked 
me whether Canton, with its bare 40,000 inhabitants, 
was not larger than Sheffield. When an editor thinks 
thus, his readers will swallow any yarn that anybody 
likes to pitch about us. There even grows up a de- 
mand for such yarns as illustrative of the depravity 
of a monarchy, and as an indirect glorification of a 
free republic. And the demand is most generously 
supplied. 

It appears that there are many causes of anti- 
British irritation. " Some day," said my friend, " we 
shall do another thing that will come to you as just 
the same cold douche as the Venezuela business." It 



A MENACE TO THE C.P.R. 139 

appears that the fishing rights on the Great Lakes are 
a perpetual cause of friction between the States and 
Canada. The States side is fished out, and as a 
consequence the innumerable yachting parties that 
gather in summer round the Thousand Islands go 
over to fish on the Canadian shore. "Not a week 
passes," he said, " without vessels being seized and 
the Stars and Stripes being hauled down by Canadian 
officials. The flag has been hissed and insulted in 
every way. Some day we shall avenge that on the 
Canadian Pacific Eailway. At present they are 
allowed to carry goods in bond duty-free across our 
territory. If we revoke that privilege, the loss of the 
traffic from New England through to the Western 
States will mean that the C.P.Ii. can't pay the interest 
on its bonds. And where will Canada be then ? " 

Another cause of mistrust and jealousy ever in the 
minds of the Senate's Committee has been some 
spasmodic attempts on the part of our Admiralty to 
fortify positions in the Western Hemisphere. Of 
course it means no more by this than by most other 
thin<fs it does or leaves undone. It has built fortifi- 
cations here and there — usually leaving them without 
armament or garrison, it is true — and the United 
States ask themselves why. Why do we build a 
graving-dock at Esquimault instead of one at Hong- 
Kong, where we need it more ? Of course such few 
Americans as follow foreign affairs know we need 
graving-docks in both places. But the general result 



140 AXTI- ENGLAND. 

is that the States make a clock of their own at Seattle, 
a few miles from Esquimault, where otherwise they 
have no earthly use for it. When we fortified Halifax, 
and Bermuda, and St Lucia — over-fortified the first 
two, as our best authorities hold — the United States 
responded with batteries on their shores and mines in 
their harbours. And also by building battleships — 
weapons not of defence, but of offence, as they 
recognise themselves quite clearly. 

It is most frankly recognised by all Americans con- 
versant with foreign affairs that we are not wholly, or 
even mainly, to blame. They deplore their system of 
conducting foreign affairs, and with good reason. The 
foreign policy of the States is conducted in part by 
the Committee of the Senate upon Foreign Affairs. 
This Committee is composed of men of experience, 
who have served upon it four, eight, twelve years. 
They know their world, they understand their 
diplomacy, and they do not blunder. But besides 
these, there is a vast deal of initiative left to the 
President and tlie Secretary of State. They are 
usually American politicians pure and simple, though 
not always quite pure or quite simple either. They 
approach foreign problems without knowledge of the 
usages of international good breeding, and with one 
eye steadily fixed on public feeling among the electors 
at home. And almost as surely as they take a prob- 
lem of foreign politics into their own hands, they 
blunder. 



"WE MUST HAVE ALL THE NEW WORLD," 141 

" Well," I said, " it seems to be a string of misunder- 
standings and blunders on each side. But has it gone 
too far ? Is it come to Mr Olney's theory that any 
union between us and any part of this hemisphere is 
unnatural and impolitic ? " 

"That, of course, was unpardonably tactless, and 
only possible in a country that puts an attorney into 
a Government office and expects him to become a 
diplomatist next morning. But if you put it that 
way, it has gone too far. We do feel that in the 
future we must not only take up our responsibilities 
in Central and South America, but that ultimately we 
must be the only Power in this hemisphere. Every 
American feels that. You can have all the Old World ; 
we hope you will. But we must have all the New." 

Then he explained the appallingly strong position of 
the United States in respect of its future armaments. 
At present their Government pays 138,000,000 dollars 
a-year to pensioners of the Civil War. As the men 
die these pensions fall in at the rate of five to eight 
millions annually ; in twenty years or so the pension- 
list will be a white sheet of paper. That means over 
twenty-six millions sterling a-year, paid already for a 
military purpose, which can be diverted to armaments 
without a cent of extra taxation. In twenty years 
this country will be easily able to turn out a dozen 
battleships a-year without taking a cent out of any- 
body's pocket. And that means the naval supremacy 
of the world. 



142 ANTI-ENGLAND. 

If we started the United States in this course by 
some bungling attempt to get our coaling-stations 
half-fortified, then it was the worst day's work we 
ever did in our lives. But since the mischief is done, 
and apparently done irremediably, we had better face 
the situation squarely and at once. I think the 
question we ought to ask ourselves is this, Are we 
prepared to fight the United States immediately, or 
are we prepared to take such steps as shall prevent 
us from fighting them ever ? These are the alterna- 
tives. We cannot afford to let the thing drift. These 
are the facts. First : we can quite honestly say that 
we regard the United States as something more than 
a mere foreign nation; they have no such feeling 
towards us, but, on the contrary, by reason of their 
vivid historical sense, are more disposed to see an 
enemy in us than in any other nation. Second : the 
United States possess already nearly double the 
population of our islands, and the peculiar advantage 
derived from their falling-in pensions enables them to 
bear the burden of heavy armament far more lightly 
than ourselves. Third : they are rapidly awakening 
from their policy of non-intervention in foreign affairs, 
and look forward to nothing less than unchallenged 
domination of every inch of the Western Hemisphere. 
If these facts are correct, then we must fall back 
upon one or other of the two alternatives I have 
suggested. For my own part, whatever may be their 
faults and foibles, I like and respect the Americans, 



THE PRICE OF FRIENDSHIP. 143 

and I shall never cease to feel warmly towards them. 
I should hate to see us at war with them, but I would 
rather see that now than see us walking head down 
to disaster and humiliation a generation or a century 
hence. As for the other alternative, it needs a deal 
of self-control and self-abnegation. It is not to be 
accomplished by fancy treaties for settling by arbitra- 
tion what nobody would ever think it worth while to 
fight about. If the price of American friendship is 
to be the ultimate abandonment of all our possessions 
in the New World, then that friendship will have to 
prove itself a very valuable asset for use in the Old. 
It may be asking too much, but if statesmanship 
could kindly arrange it, I confess I should like to see 
before I die a war in which Britain and the United 
States in a just quarrel might tackle the world. After 
that we should have no more difficulty about America. 
For if the Americans never forget an injury, they 
would ever remember a service. 



144 



XVII. 



CHICAGO. 



Chicago, October 4. 

Chicago ! Chicago, queen and guttersnipe of cities, 
cynosure and cesspool of the world ! Not if I had a 
hundred tongues, every one shouting a different lan- 
guage in a different key, could I do justice to her 
splendid chaos. The most beautiful and the most 
squalid, girdled with a twofold zone of parks and 
slums ; where the keen air from lake and prairie is 
ever in^ the nostrils, and the stench of foul smoke is 
never out of the throat ; tlie great port a thousand 
miles from the sea ; the great mart which gathers up 
with one liand the corn and cattle of the West and 
deals out with the other the merchandise of the East ; 
widely and generously planned with streets of twenty 
miles, where it is not safe to walk at night ; where 
women ride straddlevvise, and millionaires dine at 
mid-day on the Sabbath ; tlie chosen seat of public 
spirit and municipal boodle, of cut-throat commerce 
and munificent patronage of art ; the most American 



HEK MOUNTAINOUS RUII.niNns. 1 t5 

of Aiuerican cities, and yet the most mon^Tel ; the 
secoiul American city of the glohe, the fifth CJerman 
city, the third Swedish, the second Polish, the first and 
only veritable Babel of the age ; all of which twenty- 
five years ago next Friday was a heap of smoking 
ashes. AVhere in all the world can words be found 
for this miracle of paradox and incongruity ? 

Go first up on to the tower of the Auditorium, In 
front, near three hundred feet below, lies Lake Michi- 
gan. There are lines of breakwater and a lighthouse 
inshore, where the water is grey and brown, but be- 
yond and on either hand to the rim spreads the 
brilliant azure of deep water — the bosom of a lake 
wliich is also a .sea shining in the transparent sun- 
light. White .sails speckle its surface, and far out 
ocean-going steamers trail lazy streaks of smoke be- 
hind them. From the Lake blow winds now soft and 
life-giving like old wine, now so keen as to set every 
nerve and sinew on the stretch. Then turn round and 
look at Chicago. You might be on a central peak of 
the high Alps. All about you they rise, the mountains 
of building — not in the broken line of New York, but 
thick together, side by side, one behind the other. 
From this height the flat roofs of the ordinary build- 
ings of four or five storeys are not distinguishable from 
the ground ; planting their feet on these ri.se the 
.serried ranks of the heaven-.scaling iKjak.s. You are 
almost suq)ri8ed to see no snow on tliem : the steam 
that gushes pori)et«jally frf)m thrir ' hitimoys, and floats 

K 



146 CHICAGO. 

and curls away on the lake breeze, might well be 
clouds with the summits rising above them to the sun. 
Height on height they stretch away on every side till 
they are lost in a cloud of murky smoke inland. These 
buildings are all iron-cored, and the masonry is only 
the shell that cases the rooms in them. They can 
even be built downward. You may see one of them 
with eight storeys of brick wall above, and then four 
of a vacant skeleton of girders below ; the super- 
structure seems to be hanging in air. Broader and 
more massive than the tall buildings of New York, 
older also and dingier, they do not appear, like them, 
simply boxes of windows. Who would suppose that 
mere lumps of iron and bricks and mortar could be 
sublime ? Yet these are sublime and almost awful. 
You have awakened, like Gulliver, in a land of giants 
— a land where the very houses are instinct with 
almost ferocious energy and force. 

Then go out on the cable car or the electric car or 
the elevated railroad — Chicago has them all, and is 
installing new ones with feverish industry every day 
— to the parks and the boulevards. Along Lake 
Shore Drive you will find the homes of the great 
merchants, the makers of Chicago. Many of these 
are built in a style which is peculiarly Chicago's own, 
though the best examples of it are to be seen in the 
business centre of the city. It uses great blocks of 
rough -hewn granite, red or grey. Their massive 
weight is relieved by wide round arches for doors 



HER DISORDER. 147 

aDcl wiudows, by porches and porticoes, loggias and 
galleries, over the whole face of the building from top 
to bottom. The effect is almost prehistoric in its 
massive simplicity, something like the cyclopean ruins 
of Mycence or Tiryns. The great stones with the 
open arches and galleries make up a combination of 
solid strength and breeziness, admirably typical of the 
spirit of the place. On the other side of the Drive is 
the blue expanse of lake ; in between, broad roads and 
ribbons of fresh grass. Yet here and there, among 
the castles of the magnates, you will come on a little 
one-storeyed wooden shanty, squatting many feet below 
the level of the road, paint and washed-out playbills 
peeling off it, and the broken windows hanging in 
shreds. Then again will come a patch of empty 
scrubby waste, choked with rank weeds and rubble. 
It is the same thing with the carriages in which the 
millionaires and their families drive up and down 
after church on Sunday. They are gorgeously built 
and magnificently horsed, only the coachman is hump- 
ing his back or the footman is crossing his legs. These 
arc trivialities, but not altogether insignificant. The 
desire to turn out in style is there, and the failure in 
a little thing betrays a carelessness of detail, an in- 
capacity for order and proportion, which are of the 
essence of Chicago. Never was a better found vessel 
spoiled for a ha'porth of tar. 

It will be well worth your while again to go South 
to "Washington I'ark and Jackson Park, where the 



148 CHICAGO. 

World's Fair was held. Chicago, straggling over a 
hundred and eighty -six square miles, was rather a 
tract of houses than an organic city until somebody 
conceived the idea of coupling her up with a ring of 
parks connected by planted boulevards. The southern 
end of the system rests on the Lake at these two 
parks. Chicago believes that her parks are unsur- 
passed in the world, and certainly they will be pro- 
digiously fine — when they are finished. Broad drives 
and winding alleys, ornamental trees, banks and beds 
of flowers and flowering shrubs, lakes and ornamental 
bridges, and turf that cools the eye under the fiercest 
noon — you bet your life Chicago's got 'em all. Also 
Chicago has the Art Building, which is the one remain- 
ing relic of the World's Fair, and surely as divinely 
proportioned an edifice as ever tilled and satisfied the 
eye of man. And always beyond it is the Lake. 
Seeming in places almost to rise above the level of 
the land, it stretches along the whole western side, so 
that Chicago is perhaps the only one of the world's 
greatest cities that is really built along a sea-line. 
Sparkling under the sun by day, or black beneath a 
fretwork of stars by night, it is a perpetual reminder 
that there is that in nature even greater and more 
immeasurable than the activities of Chicago. 

The Art Building aforesaid is now the Field Colum- 
bian Museum, having been endowed by a leading 
citizen of that name with a cool million dollars. Other 
gifts, with dividends contributed by holders of exhibi- 



HER INTELLECTUAL EARNESTNESS. 149 

tion stock, brought up the total to half as much again. 
Chicago has a University hard by, which has come 
out westward, like Mahomet to the mountain, to 
spread the light among the twenty-five million souls 
that live within a morning's journey of Chicago. This 
University has not been in existence for quite five 
years; in that time it has received in benefactions 
from citizens of this place nearly twelve million 
dollars. Think of it, depressed Oxford and Cam- 
bridge — a University endowed at the rate of half a 
million sterling a-year! Two other prominent Chicago 
men found themselves in Paris a while ago, when a 
collection of pictures were being sold ; promptly they 
bought up a hundred and eighty thousand dollars' 
worth for the gallery of their city. There is hardly 
a leading name in the business of the place but is 
to be found beneath a picture given or lent to this 
gallery. And mark tliat not only does the untutored 
millionaire buy pictures, but his untutored operative 
goes to look at them. It is the same impulse that 
leads school teachers of sixty to put in a course at the 
University during their summer vacation. Chicago is 
conscious that there is something in the world, some 
sense of form, of elegance, of refinement, that with all 
her corn and railways, her hogs and by-products and 
dollars, she lacks. She does not quite know what it 
is, but she is determined to have it, cost what it may. 
Mr Phil D. Armour, the hog king, giving a picture 
to the gallery, and his slaughter-house man painfully 



150 CHICAGO. 

spelling out the description of it on Sunday after- 
noon — there is something rather pathetic in this, 
and assuredly something very noble. 

But there is another side to Chicago. There is 
the back side to her fifteen hundred million dollars 
of trade, her seventeen thousand vessels, and her 
network of ninety thousand miles of rail. Away 
from the towering offices, lying off from the smiling 
parks, is a vast wilderness of shabby houses — a 
larger and more desolate Whitechapel that can 
hardly have a parallel for sordid dreariness in the 
whole world. This is the home of labour, and of 
nothing else. The evening's vacancy brings relief 
from toil, the morning's toil relief from vacancy. 
Little shops compete frantically for what poor trade 
there is with tawdry advertisements. Street stretches 
beyond street of little houses, mostly wooden, be- 
grimed with soot, rotting, falling to pieces. The 
pathways are of rickety and worm - eaten planks, 
such as we should not tolerate a day in London as 
a temporary gangway where a house is being built. 
Here the boarding is flush with the street; there it 
drops to it in a two-foot precipice, over which you 
might easily break your leg. The streets are quag- 
mires of black mud, and no attempt is made to 
repair them. They are miserably lighted, and no- 
body thinks of illuminating them. The police force 
is so weak that men and women are held up and 
robbed almost nightly within the city limits ; nobody 



ITER MUNICIPAL SLACKNESS. 151 

thinks of strengthening it. Here and there is a pit 
or a dark cellar left wholly unguarded for the unwary 
foot-passenger to break his neck in. All these niiles^ 
of unkempt slum and wilderness betray a disregard 
for human life which is more than half barbarous. 
If you come to your death by misadventure among 
these pitfalls, all the consolation your friends will 
get from Chicago is to be told that you ought to 
have taken better care of yourself. You were unfit ; 
you did not survive. There is no more to be said 
about it. 

The truth is that nobody in this rushing, struggling 
tumult has any time to look after what we have 
long ago come to think the bare decencies of civilisa- 
tion. This man is in a hurry to work up his tallow, 
that man to ship his grain. Everybody is fighting 
to be rich, is then straining to be refined, and nol)ody 
can attend to making the city fit to live in. I have 
remarked several times before that America is every- 
where still unfinished, and unless the character of 
the people modifies itself with time I do not believe 
it ever will be. They go half - way to build up 
civilisation in tlie desert, and then they are satis- 
fied and rush forward to hnlf-oivili.se some place 
further on. It is not that tiiey are incapable of 
thoroughness, l)ut that in certain things they do not 
feel the need of it. In Chicago there is added to 
this what looks like a fun<lamental incapacity for 
government. A little public interest and a sn)all 



152 CHICAGO. 

public rate would put everything right ; both are 
wanting. Wealth every man will struggle for, and 
even elegance; good government is the business of 
nobody. 

For if Chicago is the lodestone that attracts the 
enterprise and commercial talent of two hemispheres, 
it is also the sink into which drain their dregs. The 
hundred and twenty thousand Irish are not a whole- 
some element in municipal life. On the bleak west 
side there are streets of illiterate, turbulent Poles 
and Czechs, hardly able to speak a word of English. 
Out of this rude and undigested mass how could 
good government come ? How could citizens com- 
bine to work out for themselves a common ideal of 
rational and ordered civic life ? However, Chicago 
is now setting her house in order. It is thought a 
great step forward that there are now actually one- 
third of the members of the municipal body who 
can be relied upon to refuse a bribe. Some day 
Chicago will turn her savage energy to order and 
co-operation. Instead of a casual horde of jostling 
individuals she will become a city of citizens. She 
will learn that freedom does not consist solely in 
contempt for law. On the day she realises this she 
will become the greatest, as already she is the most 
amazing, community in the world. 



153 



XYIIT. 

AMONG THE DAIRY-FARMERS. 

Fort Atkinson, Wis., October 6. 

The Governor had the air of an eagle. Large hooked 
nose, deep nostrils, shining black eyes, ragged black 
hair, and rough black moustache, made up a keen 
and masterful head poised a little forward on his 
long, loose frame. Dressed all in black broadcloth, 
with a wide-leafed black felt hat, hands in pockets, 
I had first met him striding leisurely down the wide 
main street of Fort Atkinson. He received me with 
a grave yet cordial courtesy, as if I had been a long- 
expected guest, instead of a wandering journalist 
sticking him up with a letter of introduction at his 
head in the middle of the street. " No, sir," he said, 
"don't speak of trouble. You are the guest of the 
institution, and anything we can do to assist your 
eyesight, and insight, and back-sight, and around- 
about sight we shall do." 

We set out, therefore, to walk over thickening 
heaps of tinted leaves between the white -gabled 



154 AMONG THE DAIRY-FARMERS. 

houses, each one set back from the street in the 
middle of its lawn. The side-walks were laid down 
with planks as in Chicago ; but what a difierence 
between the trim, sound boards of the country town- 
ship and the ragged, rotten edges of the great city ! 
As we walked everybody knew the Governor, and 
everybody greeted him with respect, except the chil- 
dren and the dogs : these laughed at him, and defied 
his commands, well knowing how safe they were 
with him. Genial, but always grave, he saluted each 
labouring man with " John " or " Henry," and they 
replied with unconstrained friendliness. Yet this 
man had been charged with the government of a 
million and a half of his fellow-citizens. He is only 
an ex-Governor now, technically ; but once a Governor 
always a Governor in this land of Democracy and 
honorary titles. 

"I am now, sir," he said, "about to show you my 
creamery. It is not yet finished, but when it is we 
anticipate that it will be the most complete and the 
best appointed" — I shuddered, for I knew instinctively 
what was coming — "in the world." Shall I ever escape 
from this tyranny of the biggest thing in the world ? 
I had at least thought myself safe in Fort Atkinson. 
Yet among its three thousand people it appears that 
this country town divides no less than three greatest 
things on earth — the coming creamery, a manufactory 
of dairy instruments, and the canvas -back duck- 
shooting on a neighbouring lake. 



BUTTER AND C^ESAPt'S WIFE, 155 

But the Governor knew what he was talknig about 
when he praised his creamery. Has lie not a dozen 
of them scattered over the south-eastern corner of 
Wisconsin, collecting the cream of all the country 
and distributing it as butter to the consumer in 
Chicago and Milwaukee, to the consumer as far North 
as Minneapolis and as far South as St Louis ? Does 
not the 'Dairyman,' which he owns and edits with 
the assistance of a small staff of local farmers, print 
twenty thousand copies weekly and circulate in every 
English-speaking land over sea? Whether the cream- 
ery will be the finest on earth, or only as fine as 
you are ever likely to see, I don't pretend to know; 
but it would be difficult to surpass it, whether for 
convenience in working or for impregnability against 
any raiding atom of dirt. " Butter," said the Gover- 
nor, " should be like Ctesar's wife — above suspicion." 

Next the Governor produced a farmer and bade 
him drive me out to inspect his farm. Though he 
might have been my grandfather, he blushed and 
stammered his coy excuses. " No, no. Governor," he 
said, "not mine. There are other much better ones 
for him to see. My fittings are all old and ordinary." 
" Your fittings," replied the Governor, " are not per- 
haps as high grade as your cows, but I should like 
for him to see your herd. The buggy is hitched up 
outside ; take my coat, it is cold ; you had better start 
right now." 

So we climbed right then into the light -framed, 



156 AMONG THE DAIKY-FAEMERS. 

loose-jointed, small-bodied vehicle which has adapted 
itself ill the course of evolution to its environment 
of American roads. The roads even in this, the show- 
farming district of the States, were nothing more than 
tracks of rough earth with one side worn a little hard 
by the traffic. The farm we came to was of about 
a hundred and fifty acres — perhaps fifty over the 
average of this part of the country — with a little 
patch or two of Indian corn, but nearly all pasture. 
The barn was over the byre ; they were old, with 
nothing given to show, and plainly a fair sample of 
the everyday working farm of Wisconsin. Yet the 
byre was as fresh and sweet as the epoch-making 
creamery itself ; the beasts were even fed from the 
floor for fear of foul mangers. At every turn this 
average farm displayed that combination of ingenuity 
and the desire to avoid trouble which is known as 
labour-saving, and from which the English farmer 
might take a useful example. I do not think that the 
American farmer, as I saw him, is more industrious 
or more regardful of details than our own, but he is 
certainly far more enterprising. " I hardly like to 
show you these calves," said my friend ; " they are the 
result of an experiment. Our theory is that for a 
milk-cow, or similarly for a milk-bull, you don't want 
the body of a beef beast so much as room to carry an 
elegant udder. So we feed these calves very light — 
just skim-milk, and perhaps a little hay or bran — so 
as not to get them fat." We passed a mare and foal in 



EXPERIMENTS. 157 

the field ; the foal also was an experiment in breeding. 
Then we came to a very dirty field. " That's an ex- 
periment," he .said. " We tried sowing clover without 
a nursing crop, but we didn't mow them weeds off as 
we should have done, and the result is not very 
good." 

The combination of enterprising curiosity and 
neglect to carry the undertaking more than half-way 
through was very American, and especially, as I 
should judge, very agricultural -American. But of 
ingenuity in labour-saving evidences meet you at 
every turn. The country-side is land-marked with 
turbines, each one pumping up its quota of water for 
the stock. Then there are devices to keep up the 
water-supply during winter, for the thermometer often 
goes as low as 40' below zero, and the ground has 
been known to freeze five feet deep. My farmer had 
anotlier idea to use wood-shavings for litter, and keep 
all his straw for feed. He also had a separator, 
worked by a wheel, inside of which a dog ran. 
Others use a horse for the same purpose, so that 
separating can begin and finish almost simultaneously 
with milking. Only in this case — a truly character- 
istic touch — the dog had run away, and the separator 
was being worked by hand until somebody had time 
and inclination to think about looking out for another. 
The land hereabouts is rich, but stony, and encumbered 
witli the stumps of trees burned down by forest-fires 
in tliu Indian time, nearly half a century ago: nobody 



158 AMONG THE DAIRY-FARMERS. 

troubles to stub them up or to gather the stones into 
walls, as has been done in New England. Altogether, 
the land is not exploited so thoroughly as in England. 
The farmers will raise two or three crops of maize 
running, and then put the land down in seeds for a 
couple or so more. They use none but stable manure. 
Nor do they feed their beasts high : my farmer's really 
beautiful Jerseys lived largely on straw and pea-halm, 
such as we should blush to offer to such well-bred 
beasts at home. 

The farming of this part of the world is not the 
real Western article. Wisconsin has been pretty 
well settled from the days of the Civil War. But 
though there is very little wheat grown here, the 
general depression has spread to the dairy produce, 
which, with a certain amount of maize and oats, is 
the chief industry of this State. One of the farmers 
told me that he could raise nothing at all on his farm 
that would pay the cost of production. Perhaps this 
was only a farmer's story, for if it was true it was 
difficult to see why he was alive. But another showed 
me a list of butter prices for each week during the 
last fourteen years, and a melancholy tale it told. 
In '82, at the height of the farming boom, the lowest 
price was 34 cents, and the highest lialf a dollar, a 
pound. Thence it dropped to 40 cents for the top 
price in spring and autumn and winter, and 20 in 
the summer. Then 30 and 17 ; then 30 and 14. 
This year 14| cents a-pound was the summer price 



AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS. 159 

of the finest butter. To-day it sells for 17 ; last year 
it was 22 in early October, and ten years ago half as 
much again. 

It is heartbreaking work ; yet the farmers here 
are almost solid against free silver. This seems 
strange, yet the reason is simple enough. Here 
almost every farmer owns his farm clear of mortgage. 
Wisconsin never had a boom on the scale of the 
States across the Mississippi, and what it had is long 
over and paid for. Burdened with no rent, the farmer 
can tide over a period of low prices by spending little 
and growing much for his own use. Moreover there 
is not a very large labouring population. The cows 
need few hands to milk and feed them and drive them 
out and home. Most farmers have a son or two, as 
rough -clothed and hard -worked as any labourer, to 
help keep things going. The hired men are usually 
young and unmarried. They make twenty dollars or 
so a -month, beside their board with the farmer's 
family — meat of a sort three times a-day, and as much 
of it as they like. They save money on this, which 
goes part of the way to a house and farm ; the rest is 
paid for on mortgage. Seeing that living is as cheap 
here, where wages run over a pound a-week, as in 
English counties where the wages of labourers with 
families are from ten shillings to twelve shillings 
a-week, there is no insuperable difficulty in paying 
these mortgages off. My friend drove me round the 
town as we returned, and told me who lived in tlie 



IGO AMONG THE DAIRY- FARMERS. 

various smartly-painted houses we passed. Here was 
the manager of the big dairy-supply factory, next 
door to him a blacksmith, and upon my life I could see 
no vital difference between the outward aspect of the 
two. Next to the blacksmith would be a lawyer, and 
next door to him — " well, an old man, I don't know 
as he does anything in particular. He is generally 
to home ; when he ain't, I guess he works some at 
moving houses." For in this land of pilgrimage it is 
far from uncommon to move a frame-house bodily 
with rollers and capstan from one site to another. 
This house used to stand at the corner of the next 
block ; that was moved across the road to make room 
for a bigger one. They are built of wood, with an 
inner skin of very stout paper. They are warmer 
than brick in the bitter winter, and rather cheaper, 
while the fire insurance is but a trifle more. And, 
above all, you can move them about. Every man not 
only owns his house, but owns it as personal and 
portable property. 

A community thus organised, for the most part out 
of debt, and with no periodical drain for rent, is fairly 
well armed to stand a spell of depression. Moreover, 
this season, although prices have been low, the yield 
of everything has been very good. The Governor's 
lady told me that, desiring to give away the surplus 
produce of her garden, she could find absolutely 
nobody who cared to take it. For which reasons, 
the farmers of this district, which is normally Demo- 



THE FARMEU AND PROTECTION. 161 

cratic by a large majority, are not only against free 
silver, but in many cases for Protection. Against 
free silver, not because they either believe or dis- 
believe in its efficacy to raise prices or lower debts, 
but because they dread the financial panic which men 
of business have promised them in the event of Mr 
Bryan's election : the very men who would have most 
to gain if their debts were halved by the depreciation 
of the currency would thus be the first to go down 
when loans were called in and mortgages foreclosed. 
For Protection, because they believe that it would set 
American mills running and American families butter- 
buying: they want an enlarged home market. The 
creamery that sent out a thousand pounds of butter 
daily now sends about seven hundred and seventy, and 
that at the depressed price. They do not believe that 
Protection will raise the prices of the manufactured 
articles they buy, looking to competition to keep them 
down. When you point out that with Free Trade 
competition would keep them down lower still, they 
agree with you, but continue to believe in Protection. 
All that is true enough in theory, they say, but not in 
practice. They are just depressed enough to want a 
change in the tariff, and just prosperous enough to 
shrink from upsetting the whole financial system of 
the country. M'Kinley offers a change, but not too 
big a change, and so M'Kinley it is. 

My wise and kind old Governor, who thought like 
Socrates and talked like Shakespeare and the Bible, 

L 



162 AMONG THE DAIRY-FAIIMEIIS. 

went off at niglit on a little trip to make a speech ou 
dairy-work — a trifle of five hundred miles into North 
Dakota. But next morning I walked through the 
early morning's conflict of burning sun and piercing 
frost to see his creamery in action. There was his son 
and partner in rough tweed and thick gloves, toiling 
at the unlading of blocks of stone for the road to the 
new building. At the old building the farmers were 
delivering their milk. One after another they drove 
up with carts full of big cans — now a loose -built 
American, now a sturdy Scotchman, now a squat 
little German with matted hair and beard like an elf 
out of Andersen's Fairy Tales. Nearly all the farmers 
of Wisconsin are either German or Scandinavian. At 
a window of the creamery is a pulley and a rope, 
which hoists up the can from the cart and empties it 
into a receiver. The receiver stands on a steelyard, 
which weighs the milk, and as it is weighed a man 
tests it with a lactometer. Thence it passes into the 
whirling separators, and thence again the cream is run 
off into vats, and thence yet again into a huge oblong 
churn, which takes half an hour to spin it into butter. 
Next it goes into the working- wheel, with due propor- 
tion of salt, and comes out to be stamped in pound 
packets, wrapped in paper, packed in boxes, and sent 
out over hundreds of miles. All these machines are 
run by a single engine. Meanwhile the farmer has 
received a weight corresponding to about four-fifths 
of that of the milk he brought — more or less according 



SKIM. 163 

to its proportion of cream. He drives his cart round 
to the back of the creamery, where is a pipe issuing 
from the wall He puts his weight into a little box 
in the wall ; it releases a balance, and out into his 
cans flows back his due share of the skim-milk. That 
he drives home for his pigs and calves. " I have ex- 
perimented considerable with skim," said a farmer, 
" and the conclusion I have reached is that a hundred 
pounds of skim are equal to half a bushel of corn. Of 
course we don't feed it to the calves alone, but with 
something to take the place of the fat in the cream." 
Anyhow, these men do not find the skim-milk left by 
the separator useless, as many people pronounce it at 
home. 

But my time was up — too soon. With many pro- 
testations of mutual esteem and an undertaking to 
visit Fort Atkinson again, I left these admirable men 
— hard-up, but not discontented, spending little, but 
owing less, knowing that they have a sure market at 
the best rates obtainable for all tlie cream their cows 
will give them, and not disposed to jeopardise that 
market in the hope of a better one. Not so very un- 
fortunate a people, after all, the farmers of Wisconsin. 



164 



XIX. 



THE CAMPAIGN. 



Chicago, October 7. 
During the present campaign Chicago has been in 
name what it has long been in fact — the political 
capital of the United States. It is nearer the centre 
of gravity of the country than is New York or "Wash- 
ington. The population within a hundred and fifty 
miles of it, as I have already mentioned, is twenty- 
five millions — well over a third of the whole nation. 
The middle Western States, of which it is the centre 
and metropolis, number 110, or, with Missouri, 127 
electoral votes out of 447. Added to the solid liepub- 
lican East, they have a clear majority. 

Chicago believes — and with good reason, if the 
West can surmount the difficulty of its capricious 
rainfall and fill itself out with inhabitants — that in 
time she will exceed New York in size and import- 
ance. Her newspapers speak without affectation of 
" the future metropolis of America." It is an indirect 
testimonial to her political weight that out of the last 



THE IIEAT)QUARTEI?S. 165 

five elected Presidents four— Grant, Hayes, Garfield, 
and Harrison — have been from the central west, and 
either M'Kinley or Bryan will be a new name to the 
credit of the Mississippi basin, as against the East. 
Tliere was in this campaign the further reason in her 
favour that the contest was in a measure between East 
and West, and hinged entirely on the vote of the dis- 
trict of wliich she is the pivot. It was at first in- 
tended that the Eepublican organisation should centre, 
as aforetime, in New York, with branch headquarters 
at Chicago. But a strong and timely remonstrance, 
telephoned from a prominent supporter of Mr M'Kin- 
ley ill tliis city to the candidate at Canton and to 
Mr Mark Hanna, his chief of the staff, in Cleveland 
brought tlie lieadquarters westward. The two parties 
established their main offices on the two sides of the 
huge Auditorium building, and probably the Republi- 
cans are to-day very glad that they listened to tlie 
voice of their monitor in Chicairo. 

Eor that the campaign is won to-day for the Bepub- 
licans, and won from Chicago, I think there is very 
little doubt. My own private prejudices are all on 
the side of the debtor class, but it is impossible to re- 
sist the evidence I liave met in and about Chicago. I 
have talked for a week with men of all parties and all 
conditions, official and unofficial, and they are virtually 
unanimous. Of course both parties claim tliat thoir 
canvass shows a majority. Both have mastered the 
elementary principle of democratic politics that the 



166 THE CAMPAIGN. 

mass likes to be on the side of the mass. In its pre- 
ference for the big battalions, if in nothing else, the 
voice of the people is the voice of God. But the 
Democrats are modest, and almost apologetic in their 
estimates ; the Republicans are exultant in the re- 
bound from the panic that overtook them on the first 
news of Mr Bryan's nomination, and profess that no- 
thing can hurt them except a counter-reaction at the 
last moment. The wish, often expressed, that the 
elections were to - morrow instead of three weeks 
ahead, is eloquent of their satisfaction at the work 
accomplished in the last six weeks. 

The process of extracting information from the chief 
of a national headquarters is not dissimilar to entering 
the ancient Jewish Temple. You first have to face a 
sergeant-at-arms, and if you pass his scrutiny you are 
allowed into the Court of the Gentiles, so to speak. 
The Court of the Gentiles is full of journalists and 
minor politicians, smoking stumps of cigars and spit- 
ting on the floor. After a due period of probation 
there, you are led through a wicket-gate — I am mixing 
up Solomon's Temple with the ' Pilgrim's Progress ' — 
and up to a door. Here your guide gives a low 
whistle ; the door is unlocked by two athletic young 
men, you pass in, and it is locked behind you. This 
is a room separated only by a glass partition with 
another wicket - gate from the Chairman himself. 
There you serve another and a very severe proba- 
tion. At last you are led through the wicket and 



MARK IIANNA. 1G7 

round the partition — and, behold, there is a strong 
post-and-rail between you and the great man. One 
more wicket to pass, and then you can sit down and 
talk to him. Thus I went to Mr Mark Hanna, the 
great merchant, shipowner, coalowner, every thing- 
owner of Cleveland, who is managing this cam- 
paign for Mr M'Kinloy. My own opinion, based 
on the reports of friends and foes and my own 
scanty experience, is that Mr Hanna is about the 
strongest man in America. Certainly he is the most 
potent at this moment, for he commands virtually 
all the money of the country. His enemies call him 
a blood-sucker of labour ; his friends call him nothing 
— but do what he tells them to. In person Mr Hanna 
is merely short, ruddy, not thin, with firm lips and 
a twinkle in his eye, and short side-whiskers that 
make him look almost like an Englishman. When 
I saw him he committed himself to the view that 
he could not afford to lose a State, because he wants 
so tliunipin^- a majority us sliall kill free silver for 
ever. 

If the Republicans win, the cause will be very 
simple and easily explicable. It will be because of 
the influence of men of business. It is impossible 
to convey even to the English mind the idolatry 
with wliich these States bow down before the man 
of business. He takes tlic place of royalty, nobility, 
caste, education, ami virtue togetlier. Witli us a 
Cabinet Minister may know nothing of banking, 



168 ■ THE CAMPAIGN. 

foreign exchange, life insurance, and we think none 
the less of him. Here he would be held grossly 
incompetent if people believed his professions of 
ignorance, or dangerously designing if, more prob- 
ably, they did not. Now, as soon as the issue became 
clearly marked between the two parties, business, 
as was to be anticipated, threw all its weight on to 
the side of the existing currency and of gold. The 
Business Men's Sound Money League, the Board of 
Trade Sound Money League, the Dry Goods Sound 
Money League, the Commercial Travellers' Sound 
Money League — they sprang up in every corner of 
the country and entered upon an active propaganda 
for Mr M'Kinley. The effect, as I should judge, 
has been enormous. " Men of business have the 
best heads in the country," they say in the rural 
districts, "and they are all against free silver." 

Business went furtlier than sound money leagues. 
It promised a world-shaking panic if Mr Bryan were 
elected. You may say that political blackmail is no 
argument. But it is, and the most powerful of argu- 
ments that can be urged. Moreover, it is not merely 
blackmail. There can be little doubt enough that a 
most serious panic actually would follow a Demo- 
cratic victory, and the people who would go under 
are exactly the farmers and operatives who incline 
towards free coinage. Even now business is sick 
almost unto death. Commercial travellers complain 
bitterly that nobody will give an order until after 



"BUY AT TANIC PEICES." 1G9 

the election ; what few orders are booked are, as a 
rule, strictly conditional on the election of Mr M'Kin- 
ley. It is true that clothes and machinery and rail- 
way carriages will be wanted whoever is President of 
the United States. But though stocks are running 
very low, and prices are very low too, tradesmen 
reckon to buy what they want, in the event of Mr 
Bryan's election, at the still lower rates of forced 
sales and bankrupt stock. A big shop in the very 
centre of Chicago has a board up to this effect : 
"Twenty-seven days" — or twenty -six, or twenty- 
five, as the days go by — ■" to the return of prosperity ; 
buy while panic prices prevail." No doubt that shop 
knows wliat it is about, and is not quite so candid as 
it looks. I'ut the effect of such announcements goes 
very far indeed. 

As for the real issue of the campaign — or, I should 
rather say, the nominal issue — everybody has well- 
nigh forgotten it. Whether the free coinage of silver 
at the ratio of IG to 1 with gold would bring silver 
up to par, or leave gold at a premium, nobody cares 
to ask, and, indeed, nobody can give an answer. 
Assuming a victory for free silver to be on the cards, 
the question is plainly of essential importance. On 
the answer depends the share which the two main 
factors in the silver movement — farmers and mine- 
owners — would get respectively out of the booty. If 
the farmer can sell his wheat to London for gold, and 
then pay his labourer and his debts in silver below 



170 THE CAMPAIGN. 

par, he is obviously the gainer ; but where does the 
silver-miner come in? If the bullion value of the 
silver dollar goes up to 100 cents, there is 47 cents 
profit for the miner ; but what will that profit the 
farmer ? Professor Laughlin, of the University here, 
perhaps the best theoretical authority, told me that 
he thought free coinage would appreciate silver but 
very little. The President of the First National 
Bank of Chicago, as good a practical authority as 
you could find, agreed^ that it would only send up the 
silver dollar from 53 to perhaps 60, or at most 65, 
per cent of the bullion value of the gold. Certainly 
that looks to give a handsome margin of profit to 
the mine-owner, and relieves the farmer 35 per cent. 
But it must be remembered that the world's supply 
of silver is practically limitless, and that improve- 
ments in transport and in processes enlarge it every 
day. This gentleman knew of a mine-owner in Mon- 
tana whose tailings had been increased in value from 
under two dollars to two hundred dollars per ton by 
a new process of reduction. The Broken Hill Mine 
has tens of thousands of tons of rejected ore dumped 
down about the place, where ten dollars' worth of 
silver per ton will not pay for the cost of getting it 
out. An improved process or a rise in the price 
might set all this free into the market. So that even 
if the silver dollar went up to 65 cents, this authority 
opined that the rush of fresh metal would soon send 
it down again. 



BANK-NOTES AND GOVEr.NMENT NOTES. 171 

Another factor in the M'Kinley reaction has been 
the revolting Democrats who nominated Generals 
Palmer and Biickner at Indianapolis. Leaving their 
party on the currency issue alone — or, as they put 
it, being left — they claim that they restored confi- 
dence at a critical moment both to the world of 
business and to the Republican party. That claim 
might doubtless be pressed too far, but it is in the 
main well founded. A prominent article of their 
political creed is that they wish to do away with 
the present system of Treasury notes, to take the 
Government out of the banking business, and rely for 
money upon notes issued by banks under proper 
Government supervision. I asked the President of 
the First National Bank his view on this point, and 
he altogether concurred. " A bank currency," he said, 
" is based on real assets. If I issue a bank-note I hold 
something against it. It may be only your note " — I 
shuddered inwardly — "but then you have a bag of 
beans at home against that. If somebody comes and 
asks me to pay my note, T ask you to pay yours, and 
you sell your bag of beans. But when the Govern- 
ment issues notes it has nothing behind them. It 
really means that it has not the money to pay its 
debts just now, and when you present the note it must 
raise money, either by taxes or by issuing bonds. If 
by taxes, it takes something which has already got its 
place in the system of credit. If it issues bonds it is 
wasting the credit in time of peace and quiet that it 



172 THE CAMPAIGN. 

might want in war or some other emergency. Now, 
if the banks issued the currency, and there was a drain 
of gold to pay our trade debts abroad, I should call on 
you to pay your note. You would sell your beans. 
Other people would do the same, prices would go 
down, and then the foreigner would want to be paid 
in beans instead of cash, and the drain of gold would 
correct itself. The Government can't do that, and 
the gold reserve in the Treasury only serves to 
frighten people when it runs low. What the Govern- 
ment does is to be periodically raided for gold to 
redeem its Treasury notes. The gold reserve goes 
down, and to replenish it and restore public confi- 
dence, Government issues interest - bearing bonds. 
These it sells for gold, and as soon as the gold is in the 
Treasury, of course there is another raid and another 
issue of bonds. And so on to infinity, the Govern- 
ment steadily losing money all the time." I asked 
my banker if he thought Congress would seize this 
occasion to put the currency on a sound basis. He 
didn't think tliey would have the grace to do that, and 
certainly Mr M'Kinley has breathed no hint of it. 
What they would do, he thought, was to raise the 
revenue, which at present lags some way behind ex- 
penditure, to a surplus of fifty million dollars or so, 
and with the aid of this gradually contract the notes 
in circulation. But there would certainly be a duty 
on wool within two years, and another on coal. 
That brings us to the tliird chief factor in Mr 



PROTECTION AGAIN. 173 

M'Kinley's probable success — Protection. T wrote at 
the beginning of my scamper through the States that 
Protection had nothinsi to do witli this contest. That 
was more or less true at the time ; but as the silver 
question was worn threadbare, Protection has been 
thrust steadily forward. The maintenance of the gold 
standard was too negative a programme for these days 
of depression. No democracy, least of all this de- 
mocracy, likes to vote a blank negative. The country 
in general has a grievance against the laws of supply 
and demand, and thinks it time Congress did some- 
thing in the direction of their repeal. For most of 
these free silver would be going too far, but there is in 
this country no holy horror of Protection. And after 
all why should there be ? This is a huge nation, but 
in many ways it is still a very young one. And how, 
without Protection, is a young country to create indus- 
tries for itself ? Do not even the political economists — 
not that they matter — say the same ? There remains, 
it is true, the fact that the Senate has a clear silver 
majority of half-a-dozen or so. The gold Democrats 
reckon on this majority for a great triumph. They 
expect this silver majority to blockade Protectionist 
legislation, and at the same time they expect from Mr 
M'Kinley's election the restoration of confidence and 
the revival of business. They hope to be able to go 
to the country in two years and say : " We were right ; 
the other Democrats said that what you wanted to be 
prosperous was free silver ; the Pepublicans said it 



174 THE CAMPAIGN. 

was Protection : you have had neither, and yet, with 
the restoration of confidence, you are prosperous. 
Eeturn, therefore, yourselves to Eree Trade and us to 
power," 

13ut other people, as well or better informed, expect 
a new M'Kinley tarill" at once. The Silver Senators 
have been bought for Protection before, and may be 
again. ]\Ir ]\I'Kinley himself — as I was told by a 
gentleman who had as much as anybody to do with 
determining him to stand by the gold currency, and 
should he succeed will have had much to do with his 
success — has no a^jprehensions about the Senate. Mr 
M'Kinley is an old parliamentary hand. " You don't 
know," he is reported to have said, " the power of free 
and unlimited patronage." President Cleveland has 
set himself to bludgeon down opposition, and has thus 
only strengthened it. President M'Kinley would con- 
ciliate it over a cigar, and, if necessary, give it an 
embassy. And so the manufacturers of Pennsylvania 
and the Middle West anticipate Protection immediate 
and abundant. A duty on coal would hit Nova Scotia 
and British Columbia, though wheat-ships must always 
carry ballast on their voyage to the States, and why 
not coal ? But the wool tax would damage Germany, 
so I am assured, far more than us. There are mills in 
the Kaiserland running night and day which never 
sell so much as a pair of socks outside the United 
States. To protect the beet-sugar of California and 
Nebraska, again, and the cane - sugar of Louisiana, 



ANTI-GERilANY. 175 

means shutting the market, not upon Mauritius and 
Demerara, but upon Germany, which produces six 
tons to their one. 1 don't suppose that England 
would welcome a new M'Kinley Bill with illumina- 
tions and votes of thanks. But if it hit Germany 
harder than it did us, we might receive it with the 
more Christian resignation. 



176 



XX. 



FOOD AND DRINK. 

Chicago, October 9. 

I AM not a chameleon — I cannot live on air. Neither 
am I a Napoleon, to go without my rightful sleep. 
Yet the air of America would make a chapoleon, as 
one might say, of anybody. 

Never was there such a stimulating, bracing air — 
meat and intoxicating drink together. You would not 
call it a kindly, perhaps not even a wholesome, air. 
I have found it drop from 94° to 47° in two days. I 
am told it will not uncommonly sink from 75° to zero 
in a night. An air like this will find out the weak 
spot and finish you before you have found it out your- 
self. Yet it is made of tone and vigour, and in the 
strength of it you can go for days and nights, eating 
little and sleeping less, and feel like a lion at the end 
of it. However, to return to the point, no man can be 
quite a chameleon, though in point of changing colour 
a good many politicians here come very near it. Even 
in America one must eat, and what ? Let us then 



THE ICE- WATER HABIT. 177 

treat of American food, for it is of more importance 
than much free silver. 

Next to air the staple American food is water. Ice- 
water is the first refreshment served at every meal. It 
is more indispensable than a napkin, and the waiter 
who will keep you waiting ten minutes for bread will 
rush wildly for the bottle if your ice-water sinks half 
an inch below the brim of the glass. Eing a bell at any 
hour of the day or night — a panting attendant dashes 
in with ice-water. Sip, sip, sip — men, women, and 
little children go pouring the noxious stuff into their 
insides. The effect of this ice-water habit on the 
national constitution can only be most disastrous. 
Water is an unwholesome drink at the best of times ; 
it is doubly unwholesome in many American cities, 
where municipal government is largely left to the friends 
of contractors, and trebly and quadruply unwholesome 
when iced. I do not suppose that ice-water can be 
set down, except indirectly, as a cause of insanity and 
crime. But I will bet my head that it kills more 
people in the United States in a month than alcohol 
does in twelve. 

To rivet the shackles yet more firmly on the victim 
of ice-waterism, it appears that until lately there was 
a strong feeling in this country against drinking wine, 
spirits, or beer at meals. To drink in the presence of 
ladies was much the same kind of manners as lighting 
a pipe between soup and fish. An Englishman who 
had lived in the country for twenty years told me 

M 



178 FOOD AND DPJNK. 

that he was once cut at a fashionable watering-place 
because he drank a bottle of beer with his lunch. The 
result of this etiquette was that men bolted raw whisky 
afterwards at the bar, to the complete destruction of 
such stomachs as the ice- water had left. 

So far as I can see, tliis convention must now be 
dying out. Of course, it has bred in many or most 
Americans a distaste for any other alternation of meat 
or drink, and men appear, quite apart from motives 
of good breeding, to prefer taking their drink by itself 
to taking it at meals. Indeed, most men appear to 
abstain quite cheerfully from alcohol altogether. While 
I have seldom gone into a bar at night without finding 
somebody who had had at least enough, I have never 
seen a bar crowded, and should say that the average 
moderate-drinking American drinks a good deal less 
than the same class of drinker in England. For one 
thing, the air is a brisk stimulant in itself, whereas 
with us it is often the opposite. Another noticeable 
fact is that even when an American orders wine or 
beer with his dinner, he seldom touches it until he is 
almost done. But I should think this habit of not 
drinking at meals is dying out. Everywhere you can 
get — thanks, perhaps, to the influence for good of three 
million German- Americans — most excellent light beers 
of the Pilsener type ; the best come from Milwaukee 
and St Louis, but they are good everywhere. As for 
American wine, the only article in common use is called 
Catawba — a rather finicking perfumed kind of stuff, 



BEEF AND MUTTON. 179 

somewhat suggestive of white Capri. European wines 
are only for the millionaire. 

But to table. " I'm looking forward to a good chop 
when I get to New York," said an American to me in 
the Campania's saloon. " This English meat makes 
me tired." I was a child in American patriotism then : 
when he said with the quiet of absolute certainty that 
American meat was infinitely better than English I 
believed him, and also looked forward to New York. 
There I found indeed American meat bigger than Eng- 
lish — the national passion for size runs even to its 
cutlets — but very far from better. I found it coarse 
in grain, insipid in flavour, usually tough, and invari- 
ably half raw. Only, in justice to the butchers of both 
hemispheres, I ought to point out one thing. Every- 
body knows that you can get good meat in London if 
you like to take the trouble, but that in nine cases out 
of ten the proprietors of hotels and restaurants find it 
simpler not to take the trouble. I expect that my 
American's experience in our land had been largely 
confined to these, while my own in his has, for the 
most part, been similarly restricted. I have met bril- 
liant exceptions in cutlets and steaks here in Chicago. 
And in private houses, so far as I can judge, the same 
rule holds good as with us. You may say of beef and 
mutton as of government — that every free man gets 
just as good as he deserves. 

But he would be a tame, inglorious explorer who 
should confine himself to familiar beef and mutton in 



180 FOOD AXD T>rJNK. 

America. What, on the other hand, is to be the 
reward of the intrepid correspondent who, in the 
interests of his readers, has faced in its native wilds 
the broiled Philadelphia squab on toast, or bearded 
the little-neck clam on shell ? I have done both. I 
ate the squab in triumph, but recoiled before the little- 
neck clam. But if the clam appears to Eastern jaws 
composed entirely of rather sickly gristle, there is the 
blue-point oyster — rich with a flavour he never retains 
on our side of the ocean, and without the superfluous 
flesh of the Whitstable. Of new fish there are legions : 
blue fish, red fish, white fish, weak fish — singularly 
well-named, for he tastes of nothing at all — breakfast 
fish, pan fish, and half-a-dozen more that I have for- 
gotten. Some of these I may have duplicated, not 
knowing the same fish under another name ; for 
instance, I could appreciate no substantial difference 
between red fish and white fish — least of all in colour 
— while a breakfast fish may not improbably be called 
so on a menu because you have it for breakfast. The 
pick of the rush basket is the blue fish, a philan- 
thropist whom we should do well to cultivate at home. 
He blends in a happy combination the close fibre of 
the mackerel and the oily opulence of the salmon. 
Salmon I have not found good — perhaps from not 
knowing where to look for it ; and trout, the noblest 
fish that swims, is frequently spoiled — again with 
notable exceptions in Chicago — by the sloppy way in 
which it is served. 



SWEETS. 181 

The pilgrimage through dinner is not marked by 
any very striking incident until you reach the sweets. 
Of birds the awesome squab above-mentioned is the 
most noticeable ; he is rather in the nature of a spatch- 
cocked pigeon. There are also such things as reed- 
birds and doe-birds, which bear a resemblance to quails. 
Grouse are a good deal larger than with us, but less 
like game and more like poultry. There are such new 
vegetables as green Indian corn — sweet and fresh, but 
only farinaceous after all — and fried egg-plant, an 
admirable natural imitation of fried egg. But dinner 
is not seen at its most characteristic until the moment 
of sweets. They descend upon you in dozens — fruit- 
pies, jam-tarts, cream-tarts, custard-tarts, varieties of 
the meringue tribe, biscuits, cakes of every bewildering 
description. Men as well as women eat heartily of 
them, and why not ? They go weU enough with ice- 
water. I seem to notice that the Americans love 
stron" flavours and violent contrast in the domain of 
food, as elsewhere: their sweets seem sweeter than 
ours ; their salt fish is uncompromisingly salt, and 
their pickled pork remorselessly pickled. But as for 
sweets, let me own my fall. Despising them, like all 
male Britons over twenty who have mastered the art 
of smoking, I yet ventured upon them out of a purely 
scientific curiosity. I first endured, then pitied, then 
embraced. The explanation of my decline is that, 
whatever else the American dinner may have been, 
the sweets are always good of their kind. Even 



182 FOOD AND DKINK. 

pumpkin-pie — though, to be sure, it does not taste of 
anything in particular — presents a yellow, saccharine 
succulence that soothes and distends. There are 
varieties of peach-pie which recall and surpass the 
masterpieces of Vienna, and cocoanut-pie is almost 
as potent. As for custard-pies, cream-pies, and all 
the rest of them — briefly, they tempt a man to 
forget his manhood. 

The order of the American dinner is, in the main, 
like unto that of our own. I have indeed detected 
pine-apple fritters lurking between cntHc and joint ; 
why, I had neither the curiosity to inquire nor the 
enterprise to determine by experiment. I suppose it 
is a parallel to the German eccentricity of eating jam 
with beef, and another token of the American leaning 
towards contrasting flavours. I also note as German 
the country custom of supping on a hot dish with 
cold meat, salad, jam, hot cakes, and tea and coffee. 
Hotels in town, on the other hand, which provide a 
late dinner of some pretension, economise on lunch 
by providing only one or two hot meats by way of 
oasis in a desert of cold. These hotels, it is hardly 
necessary to explain, pursue what is called the 
American plan, lodging and boarding you at so 
much a -day. 

The service of the American meal is plainly a 
development of the quick lunch, as profusely adver- 
tised in the business portion of New York. Its 
direct object is to stuff the maximum of diversified 



QUICK LUNCH. 183 

food into the human stomach in the minimum of 
minutes; its indirect effect is to ruin the human 
digestion in the minimum of years. With this aim 
all the various dishes are served together. Not 
until you have seen a young man barely out of his 
teens surrounded by soup, fish, three meats, four 
vegetables, two salads, two sweets, fruit, ice-cream, 
ice-water, coffee, sugar, cream, cruets, a little jug of 
spoons, and Worcester sauce, can you appreciate the 
full horror of the quick lunch. It was an affluent 
young man I saw thus begirt, for I am afraid the 
poor clerk does himself very badly. I have not 
assisted personally at a quick lunch, and I am not 
intending to do so ; but, being stranded one night 
down - town in New York, waiting for a train, I 
attended some of the shops where the clerk sups. 
You can hardly spend more than fifteen cents, but 
then you can get nothing more than oysters, cold 
meat — in some only — pies, bread, and coffee or tea. 
I worked through three in a quarter of an hour, and 
at the end I had to go down into a German beer- 
dive to stay my stomach with stout. 

But the American breakfast is the thing. Americans 
rise early ; you seldom find a man who is not through 
his breakfast by eight. This life-giving air makes 
you hungry an hour or two before you could look 
at food in Europe. First you have fruit — wonderful 
pears that look like green stones and taste like the 
fruit of the Tree of Life — and peaches. In this 



184 FOOD AND DRINK. 

country you call your sweetheart, not a daisy, but 
a peach. Then mush, — so they call oatmeal porridge 
or wheatmeal porridge or hominy porridge, — a noble 
food with the nectarous American cream. Then 
fishes and meats, sausages and bacon and eggs. 
Then strange farinaceous foods which you marvel 
to find yourself swallowing with avid gust — Graham 
bread, soda -biscuits, buckwheat (or griddle) cakes, 
with butter and maple- treacle. It is magnificent; 
but it is indigestion. All the same, I look forward 
to the day when America shall produce an invention 
that will let me go across the Atlantic for breakfast 
every morning. I shall take a season ticket. 



185 



XXI. 

THE BIGGEST PARADE ON EARTH. 

Chicaqo, October 9. 

"Yes, sir," said the millionaire, "I was then chirk- 
ing at five dollars a -week in a dry -goods store. There 
came the fire, and the store was burned down, so next 
morning I went out to look for something to do. I 
couldn't afford not to be working. I found a man who 
offered me a job of picking out bricks from the burned 
foundations at one dollar twenty cents a-day. But 
the bricks were so hot that I couldn't hold them in 
my hands. As I was going back to the room where 
I boarded to get a pair of gloves, I met a gentleman I 
knew who manufactured safes. His house of business 
was on the West side and hadn't been burned down. 
Everybody was coming to him for safes to put their 
valuables in ; others' loss was his gain. He had more 
trade than he knew what to do with, so he asked me 
to come as his cashier for a dollar a-day. I went." 
He smiled a smile of half-wistful reminiscence as he 
looked round his parlour. There he was on velvet 



18(j THE BIGGEST TAT? APE ON EAKTII. 

cushions, with a grand piano and a shameless ItaL'an 
novel side by side — horror ! — with ]\Ir Eichard le 
Gallienne's ' Prose Fancies,' and with Heaven knows 
how many dollars in the bank. And there, if any 
merit lies in sturdy and resourceful effort, he deserved 
to be. 

This little bit of retrospect is interesting, not merely 
as showing that if you are ready to salvage bricks at 
seventeen you will be a millionaire at forty-two, but 
also as a hint and an explanation of the devotion with 
which Chicago men regard their city. By their un- 
tamable energy they have built her up from a heap of 
ashes in their own lifetime to be great and wealthy 
and pulsing with virility. The gentleman I have 
quoted would be honoured and loved in any capital of 
the earth, not for his wealth and ability, but for his 
sweet and even saintly character. You had not as- 
sociated saintliness with Chicago ? Probably not. 
But he associates everything he is or ever has been 
with Chicago, and it would never enter into his mind 
for an instant that there is in the world any city 
where he would be, or where he would wish to be, 
more in place than in Chicago. He has grown up 
with her, and he loves her like a mother. 

Therefore the men of Chicago resolved that the 
twenty-fifth anniversary of her destruction by fire 
should not pass without such a demonstration as 
should convince the world that she is very much more 
alive than ever. Incidentally, it was determined that 



CHICAGO MAKES AN EFFORT. 187 

this demonstration should also blazon abroad her de- 
votion to the cause of that sound money on which she 
has grown to be what she is. 'Now, when Chicago 
makes up her mind to do a thing she does it as it 
has never been done before. If it is not the biggest 
thing of its kind the world ever saw — why, then 
Chicago has lost a day. The American people love 
display above all things ; it is nothing to be anything 
unless you can express that being so as to impress it 
sensibly upon others. So the day was made a public 
holiday, not by the decree of authority — what cares 
Chicago for authority ? — but by the unanimous resolve 
of the leading citizens. Board of Trade, Stock Ex- 
cliange, banks, offices, shops, factories, street railways, 
all took a day off; they hardly knew themselves in the 
unaccustomed calm. And Chicago gathered herself 
together into the heart of the city for a festival of 
superlative display such as had never been seen before, 
and should never be seen acjain until Chicacjo saw fib 
to surpass it. 

I had seen at Canton something of the American 
method of electioneering, — of the appeal to the senses 
of the voter, hitting him hard in eye and ear with 
colour and noise, so that the dullest imagination can- 
not fail to appreciate the strength of the great machine 
which asks him to become part of it. I had seen in 
Chicago evidences of ambitious energy which con- 
vinced me that what there was to be done in the way 
of colour and sound and pageantry would be done 



188 THE BIGGEST PARADE ON EARTTT. 

here. But I had also seen somethino- of the exafjfjer- 
ation into which American impressionability is wont 
to betray itself. "When I went to the office of the 
Chicago ' Times - Herald,' which was my hospitable 
home for the day, I expected to see a big thing — per- 
haps a matter of two or three hours — but not a thing 
whose bigness would transcend my powers of estimate 
and comparison. The parade was timed to start at 
ten, and only a few minutes afterwards its head 
appeared between the dense phalanxes of people 
crushed on to the pavements, and the swarming faces 
that lined every building, from the lowest window to 
the roofs and chimneys, like ants in a hill. First 
came a squad of mounted police ; then mounted 
buglers ; then rank on rank of mounted citizens. 
With parti-coloured sashes slung round their bodies, 
gold cords about their hats, white gauntlets, new 
bridles, and brilliant saddle - cloths, they looked as 
disciplined and rode as regularly as the police. Pres- 
ently came by the organiser of the parade, riding 
alone like a general, and after him a small staff and 
a mounted standard-bearer. Then slowly there ad- 
vanced a colossal American ensign, spread out like 
a canopy from side to side of the broad street : it 
seemed to be rolling along by its own motion. It was 
a mass of umbrellas — some blue with white stars, 
others red and white, cunningly marshalled so that 
from above they presented a giant counterfeit of the 
stars and stripes. Then came the demonstrators 



THE snow. 189 

themselves. First, grey-bearded veterans of the war, 
glittering with medals and badges, a little stiff with 
years, but every inch of them soldiers yet. Band 
after band crashed past — scarlet and blue, crimson 
and gold, lace and feathers. Between them, now 
eight abreast shoulder to shoulder, now four abreast 
in open order across the whole street, advanced bat- 
talion after battalion of marchers. They were regi- 
mented either according to political clubs or to the 
prominent business houses of Chicago ; each carried 
its own standard. The great drapery establishment 
of Marshall Field & Company led the way — six 
partners of the firm riding abreast, and after them 
shop-walkers, salesmen, cashiers, porters, office-boys, 
all in rank and file, and all in step with the music. 
Firm followed firm, club followed club. Some wore 
red badges, some blue, most gold ; some carried scarlet 
umbrellas, some orange. Others wore slouched hats 
of saffron colour, others again short capes of ultra- 
marine or vermilion. All kept their formation and 
marched in step. After about three-quarters of an 
hour, when the procession had already become an 
army, began to arrive the principal attraction of the 
show — the floats, as they call waggons bearing sym- 
bols of trade or groups of allegorical figures. Here 
Vulcan with attendant Cyclops, here nothing but a 
huge earthen pipe, there a model of one of the great 
buildings, there again a car swarming with starred- 
and- striped Uncle Sams — six horses, eight horses. 



190 THE lUGGEST PAKADE ON EAKTH. 

ten horses, with Uoatiug streamers and gildt-d hoofs. 
Horns boomed and megaphone speaking - trumpets 
magnified the din tenfold. And at intervals along 
the line of march were telephone - receivers into 
which enthusiasts decanted their cheers, to be carried 
five hundred miles into Mr M'Kinley's study at Can- 
ton. Was there ever such a blend of the infantile 
and the heroic ? 

Eleven o'clock : they were still stepping briskly out 
to the mvisic. Twelve o'clock : they were still yelling 
"He's all right!" as they passed the picture of M'Kin- 
ley. One o'clock : they were just getting into their 
stride. At half-past one I took a short adjournment 
and not unnecessary sustenance. At half-past two I 
went back to the window : there was this inexhaust- 
ible parade sweeping on as doggedly as ever. Club 
followed club, factory trod on the heels of factory. 
More bands, more floats, more colours, more mega- 
phones, always more gold. A detachment of bakers 
in white ; a company of glass - blowers with glass 
swords ; a troop of broom - makers shouldering gilt 
brooms. Then came the contingent of the great 
packing houses — ten thousand marchers from these 
alone. Their feature was the stockyards brigade, all 
riding and all in capes that may have been paper, 
but looked like cloth-of-gold — hard cattle-drovers 
and slaughterers sitting their fine horses carelessly. 
Every ward in the city, every trade that man ever 
set his hand to, had sent its sons to swell this pro- 



stunning! 191 

digious pageant. Three o'clock : was it ever going 
to end ? We had long ago worked through the list 
of organisations coloured on the card, yet tramp, tramp, 
rumble, rumble, crash, crash, the men and the wag- 
gons and the bands came pouring on. It was an army 
corps, two army corps, a whole nation on the march. 

At last! A six-horsed car one blaze of gold, and 
the crowd had broken the dam and was surging over 
the street. Twenty-five minutes to four : it had taken 
five hours and ten minutes to go past the ' Times- 
Herald ' office. By my own estimate nearly four hun- 
dred men had passed every minute ; allowing for all 
intervals the ' Herald's ' calculation of eighteen to 
twenty thousand an hour cannot have been too high. 
A hundred thousand men ! More than thirteen miles 
of procession ! Capitalist worth two hundred million 
dollars ! But why struggle with figures so vast that 
they have lost their meaning. The parade would 
have failed if its object, if its import, be grasped and 
weighed by figures. The mind was stunned and dead- 
ened by the vastness of it. The eye was blinded with 
colour, the ear deaf with music, the head dazed with 
the effort to get it all into focus. There was more 
colour and more noise and more men than you could 
conceive were in the whole world — a world of brilliant 
bunting and brass and horses, and moving men, men, 
men, till you gave up and let it sweep over you and 
conquer you and absorb you, annihilated into its 
titanic self. 



192 THE p,Tr;r;EST taPiADE on earth. 

" If M'Kinley gets all that of votes out of this 
county," said the lift - boy when I crawled home, 
feeling too small a worm ever to turn again, "he'll 
be our next President sure." There you see it at 
work. That lift-boy never went to a political meet- 
ing, never read a political tract. They have dis- 
covered in this country the effects of the spectacular 
and the auricular, and they have applied it on a 
characteristically vast scale. You can disregard ar- 
gument ; you can ignore self-interest ; you can for- 
get country ; you can even refuse a bribe. But you 
cannot fail to see and hear and to be struck wellnigh 
resistless by so imperious and masterful appeal to 
the senses of your body. 

The Democrats know that as well as anybody else. 
So they have organised a counter- demonstration as 
colossal as they can lay their hands on for the even- 
ing, and as I write it is trooping up beneath my 
window. On the horizon the red and white liglits 
shine steadily over the black solemnity of the Lake. 
Nearer in is the broad belt of muddy waste that 
Chicago is going to make into a park when the 
City Council gives back the money it has embez- 
zled. And right below us is Michigan Avenue, dark 
with heaving masses of men, flickering with gold 
and silver and red fire, and volleying cheers, lioarse 
and shrill, far over the solemn water, and up to 
unanswering heaven. All poor men these. No two 
hundred million dollars here. Not but what they 



THE POOE MANS PAKADE. 193 

know how to play the game as well as anybody. 
They have the advantage of the darkness and illu- 
mination, and the keen night breeze. They have a 
row of sheeted ghosts with such boding inscriptions 
as " Murdered in Pennsylvania by Carnegie." It 
seems to me — I may be wrong, I am trying to be 
fair — that there is more life, more sincerity, more 
devil in this muster than in the other. Men said 
that factory hands were compelled to demonstrate 
this morning for fear of their employers. It was 
untrue of many thousands, I doubt not ; yet some 
looked sullen — it may probably have been true of 
some. But of this night's enthusiasm there can be no 
doubt ; the affair goes in a whirlwind of cheers from 
start to finish. It may be smaller, though even this 
is a great army ; it takes an hour and a half to pass 
my window, and cannot number less than thirty 
thousand men. And if smaller, it is more exuberant. 
It may be less overwhelming, but it is more inspirit- 
ing. I am getting enthusiastic myself. There may 
be fewer bands, but how they ring ! and was there 
ever an air like "Auld Lang Syne " ? There may be 
fewer cavalry, but how they step ! and was ever any 
created thing so beautiful as a horse ? There may be 
less colour, but how the torches dance ! There may 
be fewer cars, but how the silver blazes in the eye of 
the calcium lights ! So they go blaring and flaring, 
tossing and roaring and maddening into the darkness. 
All poor men, in this city of corn and meat and 

N 



194 THE BIGGEST PARADE ON EAKTII. 

dollars. May be coarse men and ignorant men. They 
may be very wrong ; they may be compassing their 
country's ruin and their own. But they all feel that 
there is something they want — something they ought 
to have and have not — and in a vague, blind way 
they are striving to get it. Thousands of them think 
— how tragically ! — that it is within their grasp to- 
day. All poor men — and poor they will remain. 
Sometimes dully patient through the night of indi- 
gence ; sometimes shouting at the phantom of false 
morning; sometimes, it may be, raving and seeing 
red. But poor they will remain. 



195 



XXll. 

OUT WES T. 

Denver, October 12. 
I AWOKE yesterday morning to find the train rumbling 
alongside a broad coffee-coloured river which threaded 
its way among long coffee-coloured shoals and sandy 
eyots. It was the Missouri, and when presently we 
creaked over it I was in the West indeed. 

All Sunday the train rolled across the plains of 
Kansas, — for an American train, being a string of 
very long and heavy carriages, does roll instead of 
jumping like so many of ours : it is the difference 
between the movement of the ocean-liner and of the 
row-boat. The plains of Kansas are not an interest- 
ing spectacle after the first half-dozen hours or so. 
Once the bed of an inland sea, their long rise and 
fall affords at one moment a prospect of miles, the 
next of a few hundred yards. But miles or yards, it 
is all the same — dim brown-green fields, mostly divided 
by wire fences, but now and again by a grove of yel- 
lowing half-naked trees or a tall straggling hedge. At 



196 OUT WEST. 

intervals the black skeleton of a little coal-mine 
varies, but hardly embellishes, the prospect. Farm- 
houses, of the portable frame-built kind, are dotted 
here and there. In the middle of the enormous 
fields they look curiously like toys. About them are 
a few head of cattle or horses to be seen, but most 
of the land is plough. The rich black loam grows 
fine crops of maize and wheat, when only it will 
remember to rain. Kansas is the first wheat-growing 
State of the Union ; the fourth in oats, and the fifth 
in Indian corn. This year it has rained rather too 
much than otherwise, but a little excess is preferable 
to the ruinous droughts of the preceding years. So 
that, with a good harvest and wheat bounding up on 
the Chicago market, Kansas has done well. 

But Kansas is not happy. From the conversation 
of its various sons who joined us and left us during 
the long Sunday, I gathered that Kansas is convinced 
that there is something somewhere in the universe 
that is radically wrong. She was over -boomed in 
the early '80's like all the West, and to-day she is 
paying — or, more correctly, owing — for it. Vast sums 
were borrowed to put up houses that nobody wanted, 
and to till land that had better have been left virgin. 
So that when India suddenly took to producing wheat 
in hundreds of millions of bushels, and Australia and 
the Argentine in tens of millions, and when the price 
went steadily down in consequence, Kansas began to 
feel that all was not as it should be. 



THE SORROWS OF KANSAS. 197 

Then came the awful fact that the rainfall was such 
that every other drop failed utterly. Kansas was the 
more convinced that something was rotten. To put 
it right — instead of irrigating, which with time is 
the main hope of the West — she set to work fever- 
ishly upon all kinds of curious political experiments. 
An American asked me a few days ago whether we 
did not feel it very inconvenient to have to make 
any experiment in government by the unwieldy means 
of an Act of Parliament : was it not far easier and 
safer to let individual States make trial of a novelty 
and see how it worked ? ISTo doubt an awful example 
is at times convenient to all of us, but how about the 
example ? Kansas has been the drunken helot of 
American politics. " Here's a law ; let's enact it," 
has been its continual watchword. Kansas tried 
Prohibition, and, if it is any satisfaction to it to 
know, thereby put me to some inconvenience. But 
the native Kansan still knows where to get drunk 
if he wants to, and cutting off the supply of whisky 
on earth did nothing to increase the fall of water 
from heaven. It tried a certain amount of female 
suffrage with no more effect. In the last few years 
it has given its allegiance to four new political 
parties. These were the Farmers' Alliance, the 
National Alliance, the People's Party, and the 
Silver Party. None of them did any good, and now 
for what none of her politics could do Kansas has to 
own her obligation to the despised laws of supply 



198 OUT WEST. 

and demand. But this election is too early for 
Kansas to own any such thing. She is saturated 
with the doctrine of free silver. The towns, Re- 
publicans told me, will go handsomely for M'Kinley, 
but then there are no towns. The outlying farmer is 
largely beyond the reach of the campaign of education 
which the gold men are conducting, and though Kansas 
is being rapidly purged of economic heresy, there will 
be enough left to ensure a victory for Mr Bryan. 
Small blame to Kansas for desiring any change, since 
with crops failing, prices tumbling, and mortgages 
foreclosing, her lot has been one of hard anxiety. 

Next morning we were in Colorado. The sleepers 
were white with frost, but the sun was half a furnace 
at six in the morning, and the sky was all blue. We 
were rolling, rolling now across the raw prairie. Wave 
after wave it spread out boundlessly on every side, a 
pale silvery grey under the frost and the dazzling sun- 
shine. No room for agriculture here. Seen in the 
bulk the prairie is much like a smooth, undulating 
sea ; but if you look closer it is more like a glacier 
— a glacier of caked sand, wrinkled with a thousand 
crevasses in which streams should run, but which 
only rarely contain so much as a little ooze. The 
surface is dappled with tufts of sage -scrub — small 
bushes that at a distance resemble bleached heather. 
Occasionally appeared sparse blades of coarse grass, 
but the rare steers and horses had a right to be thin. 
Nothing flourishes in this arid wilderness except 



DEXYEE. 199 

prairie-dogs. Hundreds of these brown-furred little 
devils, a mixture of rabbit and guinea - pig, were 
scampering up and down in the sun, or perking them- 
selves bolt upright at the edge of their holes, comically 
like a dog begging, to look at the train as it rolled 
past them. Presently in the distance the ground 
began to rise into hills, and then the hills into moun- 
tains. "We did not climb them, but turned northward 
and ran through country where the grey of the prairie 
began to be relieved with the yellow of deciduous 
trees, and a green field or so of clover. So we ran 
into Denver, the mining capital of the West, the Queen 
City of the Plains. 

The Queen City of the Plains, if I may presume to 
criticise on a very brief acquaintance, is more plain 
than queenly. A very well-made, well-arranged city 
beyond doubt, but undistinguished. Solid brick-built 
houses, neither too large nor too small, she has in the 
central part, and agreeable residences. Her tram-car 
system and electric-lighting system are not to be im- 
peached. In one respect I noticed Denver has risen 
superior to American carelessness. Many cities are 
apt in places to leave the names or numbers of their 
streets to be remembered by the inhabitant, or con- 
structed out of the inner consciousness. Denver puts 
a couple of boards at each street corner, with not only 
the names but also some of the more important or 
necessary businesses between that corner and the 
next. But, alas ! even Denver is human, for many of 



200 OUT WEST. 

the corners have indeed the brackets for such boards, 
but no trace of boards for the brackets. The inhabit- 
ants appear, at first sight, to gain a precarious liveli- 
hood by selling each other railway tickets at reduced 
rates. Outward from the business centre Denver is 
much the same as other American cities. Perhaps a 
little more beautiful than Chicago, in that the subur- 
ban roads are oftener planted with trees ; perhaps a 
little less so, in that the acres of railroad track and 
factory in smaller Denver are less diluted by dwelling- 
houses. Much the same, in that the outskirts of both 
are dingy and dusty and sooty, and largely over- 
populated with Germans. 

But if Chicago has her lake to redeem her, Denver 
has her mountains. No city can be wholly unpleasing 
where you can look up from a street of railway ticket- 
offices and mining agencies to see a great mountain 
filling the end of the vista. It has been remarked by 
some profound observer that the spectacle of high 
mountains suggests majestic calm. It does. But how 
majestically calm mountains can look I never knew 
till I saw the Eockies from the Argo Smelting Works. 
On one side a maze of railway lines and row on row 
of freight - trucks formed the foreground. Behind 
them was a large, low parallelogram of dingy brick 
and unpainted wood and dull slate ; out of it rose 
more than a dozen fat chimneys, vomiting clouds of 
impenetrable blackness. The sun was smeared with 
the dirtiness of it ; the air was poisoned with the 



THE ROCKIES AND THE SMELTER. 201 

reek of it, and throbbed with the pulse of machinery. 
On the other side rose the Eocky Mountains. In 
front were the naked brown sides of the lower eleva- 
tions — harsh in colour and savage in outline. Behind 
them towered summits fading from brown to a more 
kindly grey, and beginning to blend the wildness of 
their shape with the clouds. And yet further rose 
the white peaks above the clouds, basking serene 
and unperturbed in the glory of their neighbour, 
the sun. "In the world there is nothing great but 
man," I repeated with my face to the factory, and 
then looked at the mountains. They did not trouble 
to rebuke me. What is the smelter to them ? They 
looked down on that table-land without interest when 
the smelter was born, and they will look down without 
condescending to triumph when it dies. 

Why did I plough through sand and Germans to 
the Argo Smelter ? I haven't an idea, unless it was 
the weird of the conscientious journalist, which never 
lets him get away from what he cannot understand. 
There was next to no work going, and nearly all the 
plant was still and cold. It was even pathetic to see 
the sparse workmen strolling about the great sheds 
built to keep twenty times their number busy. But 
I saw them crushing silver ore, and it was about the 
grimmest industrial operation there could be. No 
delicacy of contrivance or sheen of racing steel, but 
heavy grimy machinery, crushing the blocks of 
metallic rock by sheer brute force. Tlien I saw the 



202 OT'T WKST. 

powder bein^ raked to and fro in a square furnace, 
and being raked round and round in a circular furnace. 
Finally it comes out, as I understood, in a form in 
which it can Ije dissolved in hot water and tlience 
precipitated us pure metal. At this point I saw 
some rubble in a wooden box, and turned to ask a 
workman whether any use could be made of it. He 
said it could ; that was the silver. That the silver 
— that dirty -white crumbling mess; half dust, half 
coagulated like frozen snow ! That was it : there 
was about 2U0 ounces of it, he said, strewn about 
the box, and that was the crushings of over ten tons 
of ore. And was that the stuff that all this herculean 
and vulcanic machinery had been tearing its heart out 
and burning its ribs through to force from the rock ? 
Thai the stufl that is shaking this whole country 
as it has hardly been shaken before ? Away, vile 
dross ! 

But that is not the view of Denver. Denver is 
the centre to which comes for smelting the gold and 
the silver, the copper and lead, and the other metals 
which are woven into all the mountains of Colorado. 
Colorado calls herself the Silver State, and of right, 
for she puts out more than one-seventh of the whole 
production of the world. lUit silver is not what it 
was. Ill the last three years it has gone down nearly 
50 per cent. What was paying ore then is now only 
lit for the dump-heap. "Talk of silver barons," said 
a mining engineer; "you could count them nowadays 



"A REAT'TIFUL BUSINESS ONCE." 203 

on the fingers of your two hands. I don't suppose 
there are half-a-dozen silver-mines now running,', har 
those that produce gold as well. It was a beautiful 
business once. I'ut now you can't be .^surpri.SL'd if 
people that are in want cry out for some change, 
even if it is not quite .sound economically." I told 
him I was not surprised — the less so since I per- 
ceived that he meant to vote for free coinage at 10 
to 1 himself. So will ihey all in Colorado. Who can 
blame them ? 



204 



XXIII. 



A STRIKE. 



Leadville, October 13. 

Every American is at heart an Anarchist. He hates 
constraint, he hates regulation, he hates law. The 
most elementary arrangements of an ordered com- 
munity, as we should think, are to him irksome and 
intolerable encroachments on his liberty. But there 
is one point on which the conservatism of America 
would put the very Czar to shame. The American 
will tolerate much, but he will have no tampering 
with the rights of property. He may have nothing 
himself, but he will guard the havings of others with 
all the jealousy a man usually gives only to his own. 
In a land where you may be a pauper to-day and a 
millionaire to-morrow ; where it is the commonest 
experience to meet a man who has made, and lost, 
half-a-dozen fortunes in half-a-dozen different pro- 
fessions in as many years — here a man looks upon 
the wealth of others as held in trust for himself, and 
will suffer no diminution of its sanctity. Socialism, 



THE TIIKEE BOOMS OF LEADVILLE. 205 

Anarchism, any " ism " that smacks of confiscation 
or nationalisation, is a far more heinous liorror in this 
land of democracy than anywhere in the king-ridden 
East. 

It is so with strikes. In our own country a strike, 
even if the strikers be palpably in the wrong, will al- 
ways command the sympathy of a great many people. 
Except in extreme cases, I am free to own that it 
automatically commands mine, lu this country it 
does nothing of the kind. Hardly a word have I 
heard in apology for the Leadville strikers from any 
person I have come across. Everybody reprobates 
them mercilessly ; everybody exults over the measures 
that now appear to be ensuring their defeat and 
ruin. 

It must be confessed that theirs is a pretty bad 
case. Leadville, you must know, is a mining camp 
riglit up above the clouds in the llocky Mountains. 
It is so called because it produces lead, but its first 
real boom was in gold. When the gold was to some 
extent played out, two drunken miners, acting under 
the divine inspiration of their condition, set to digging 
one night in a place wlierc no sane man would have 
swung a pick. Of course tliey discovered carbonates 
soaked in silver beyond the dreams of avarice. There- 
upon Leadville had a second boom. That was about 
eighteen years back ; in the meantime the camp had 
developed resources in the way of iron and copper 
also. About half-a-dozeu years ago it had a third 



206 A STRIKE. 

boom — this time in gold again. Leadville, in short, 
appeared singularly blessed of Heaven. The depres- 
sion which had menaced our fair city, as the preface 
to the local directory finely remarks, faded away, and 
the sun of prosperity spread its invigorating beams 
around. 

But within a few months of these words came the 
strike. Silver had gone down steadily, until Lead- 
ville could afford to work hardly an ounce of it. 
Thereon it seems that the Miners' Trade Union seized 
the auspicious occasion to demand a rise in wages. 
About two-thirds of the men got three dollars a-day, 
and the rest two and a half. Three pounds a-week 
you would have called good enough wages in bad 
times, even though prices are somewhat higher in a 
mining camp eleven thousand feet above sea -level, 
where your heart bangs on your ribs if you run up- 
stairs, than in the cities of the plain. But the mine 
managers, though tliey promised the rise when silver 
went up to 70 cents (I think it was) an ounce, set 
their faces resolutely against any increase at the time. 

The real question appears to have been whether 
the Colorado miners should come under the Western 
Union, like those of Montana and Idaho, or whether 
this should remain a non-Union State. The men 
struck ; the managers got in blacklegs. Then one 
night, some five weeks ago, two of the mines were 
attacked. One was set on fire and wrecked ; the 
other, thougli the strikers used dynamite freely, was 



STRIKE OR PUBLIC HOLIDAY? 207 

pluckily defended. The assailants were driven off. 
Nobody knows — or cares, apparently — exactly how 
many men they lost. The leaders of the Union were 
thereon charged with murder, and thrown into prison, 
where they now are. The President of the Union 
has utterly disappeared from the face of the earth — 
whether he was shot in the attack on the mine or is 
now a fugitive from justice, again nobody knows or 
cares. Leadvillc was occupied by troops in force, 
infantry and cavalry, a 12-pounder and gatlings, and 
is so occupied at this day. 

The camp presents a strange contrast to-day be- 
tween black hostility and Western good-fellowsliip. 
The whole company of the strikers was lounging 
along the main street, well dressed and well fed to 
all appearance, and in perfect good-humour, as if the 
men in their graves with bullets through their hearts 
had been sharing the sunshine with them. It all 
looked more like a holiday than a strike. Presently 
tliree fire-engines, each fireman in a different uniform, 
came galloping down the ploughed field that forms 
the central avenue of Leadville. Everybody followed 
— without excitement, of course, for what is a mere 
fire in Leadville ^ — but with an evident intention to 
make the most of a lucky windfall in the way of 
entertainment. The truth was that the Governor 
of Colorado had come up to inspect the military 
arrangements, and the firemen had been turned out 
to amuse him. The public disappointment was my 



208 A STRIKE. 

gain, for I had an opportunity of seeing the forti- 
fications of Leadville. 

Not knowing a soul in the place, I had followed 
my usual method of calling upon the leading news- 
paper. The invariable result followed — first, that I 
was interviewed; and, secondly, that I received the 
honorary freedom of the town. And for social life — 
except on dynamite nights — give me Leadville. Be- 
fore the huge fire in the hall of the hotel was the 
whole camp — the mine manager dressed for all the 
world like one of the strikers, the local editor in 
corduroy trousers, the officers of the army of occupa- 
tion in their workmanlike blue uniforms, the Governor 
of the State being introduced to the postman. Into 
this order of equality and friendliness I was initiated, 
and the officers hospitably asked me to join them as 
part of the Governor's escort. So I hired a mustang, 
or burro, or broncho, or whatever it was — to me it 
looked just like a plain horse, and on the whole it 
behaved as such — fell in behind the staff-officers, and 
rode off to inspect the camp. 

If anybody is apt to think little of the United 
States militia by reason of the everyday looseness of its 
equipment and the apparent easiness of its discipline, 
he is in a fair way to be badly surprised some day. 
I know nothing of military affairs, but it was im- 
possible for the greenest greenhorn to see these men 
without recognising them as the real stuff that wins 
battles. Spare and active, hard as nails, with intelli- 



A FORTIFIED MINE. 209 

gence and determination stamped on every face, on 
the best of terms with their officers and each other, 
they were quite plainly the men for days of forced 
marching with straight shooting at the end of it, and 
shooting right on to a finish. Up here in the clouds 
with spells of four hours' sentry-go in the icy nights, 
with no air to breathe, the senior surgeon told me that 
he had only found half-a-dozen men unfit for duty in 
almost as many weeks. 

Then we rode up to the mines. The first was a 
shapeless chaos of charred beams, broken metal, over- 
turned cylinders, wires strewn underfoot, machinery 
hanging in blackened shreds. Here the storming 
party had succeeded in dynamiting their way in and 
firing an oil-tank. The next mine was a fortress, 
nothing less. Ramparts of rubble, stout abattis, pent- 
houses of heavy beams — the place looked impregnable 
to anything but artillery or dynamite. Here, too, the 
defences had been broken through by bombs, but a 
fierce fight followed round the oil -tank, and the 
strikers were beaten off. The chimneys of the works 
were like sieves with bullet - holes, and there were 
deep and frequent dints in the woodwork. In this 
mine we saw the double row of roughly-sawn plank- 
built bunks where the men sleep, and the long table 
laid out for them to eat on : they only leave the 
precinct of the mine at the risk of their lives. We 
saw the pickets on guard and the garrison drawn 
up inside the fort. The soldiers were only doing their 





210 A STRIKE. 

duty, quietly and loyally, as they are bound to do. 
But here also were the imported non-uuionist miners, 
prisoners in their workshop, earning a living in deadly 
peril every minute of the day and night. It was not 
wonderful that they showed something of the fierce- 
ness of the wild beast when it has tasted blood ; that 
one or two of them exulted in the slaughter they had 
done already, and asked no better than to have a 
chance of killing again. Whether such a chance will 
be given them nobody can tell. The town is as 
orderly as a Sunday-school to-day ; but the sullen 
calm may be furious storm to-morrow. And there 
is always dynamite. At the third mine — a Samson 
of pumping and hoisting machinery — the hills of 
rubble had been made into escarpments and bastions, 
with a system of block- houses and electric lights 
placed so as to command every approach. It would 
be so easy to steal up with dynamite. If you approach 
you will be fired on ; briefly, Leadville is in a state of 
siege, not to say civil war. Several hundred stand of 
arms have been confiscated, but signals have been seen 
Hashing from mountain to mountain at night, and 
little caches of dynamite have been found near the 
mines. " There may be one under our feet at this 
moment," suggested an officer, cheerfully. 

We scrambled up and down the stony steeps from 
mine to mine for good part of the afternoon. Trotting 
back past the little frame-huts, I saw more than one 
black-browed miner lowering at his door, and more 



TO THE DEATH. 211 

than one muttering woman calling off her children as 
we passed. In this grim deadlock Leadville waits for 
the cruel winter. With uncalculated treasures be- 
neath her feet, and the clammy, cold clouds pressing 
down on her head, she waits for aching frost and 
hunger to settle the matter one way, or cold steel 
and hot lead and dynamite to settle it the other. No 
surrender ; no compromise ; no pity. The owners 
mean to starve the miners to death ; the miners mean 
to blow the owners to atoms. It is not the first 
strike of the kind in America, nor the second, nor 
will it be the last. And as a dark menace for the 
future a billion silver questions are not to be named 
in the same breath with it. 



212 



XXIV. 



AMONG THE MORMONS. 



Salt Lake City, October 15. 
" But Brigham Young was a big man ? " I expostu- 
lated. 

"He was a natural boss," said the Judge, "but 
not near so big a man as his people made out. He 
pretended to receive telephone messages from the 
Almighty, and they did what he told them every 
time. But lie was a bully and a braggart; he 
hadn't any real courage. He was not a Mahomet, 



sir." 



" But he did a lot here." 

" He had a lot of men working. It looks wonder- 
ful to make a garden out of a desert; but it was 
the water did it. A tribe of civilised Indians down 
in New Mexico had done it before, and the Spaniards 
had always irrigated. I guess you won't find any- 
thing here in the way of irrigation they haven't got 
in Egypt. And you can water this land in a year ; 



MORMONISM: BIRTH AND DEATH. 213 

back East it took a man a lifetime to clear his patch 
of forest." 

That was the view of a man who had fought Mor- 
mouism for twenty years and had beaten it. For 
Mormonism is beaten to-day ; as an organisation of 
life apart from the Gentile world Mormonism is quite 
dead. The white six-spired temple, which took forty 
years to build, with walls nine feet thick, and every 
corner wrought out of a single stone, is no more than 
its mausoleum. 

From the first emigration in 1847, when Salt Lake 
City was the only bit of civilisation West of the 
Missouri, and wellnigh as hermetically sealed from 
the outer world as was America before Columbus, 
there were Gentiles in Utah. They were tolerated, 
but no more. I>ut in 1868 came the Union Pacific, 
and the huge bell that tolled from its engines was 
the death-knell of Mormonism as Church and State 
in one. The Gentiles increased : year by year there 
were contests for local offices, and though the People's 
Party — as the Mormons called themselves — always 
had the victory, the minority of the Liberals, or 
Gentiles, grew steadily smaller. At last, in 1889, 
came a State election in which the Mormons won 
the State, or the territory as it then was, but in Salt 
Lake City itself were in a minority of 41. Next 
spring was fought the hottest municipal contest 
American politics ever saw. Every man in the city 
was working on one side or the other. The Liberals 



214 AMONG THE MORMONS. 

carried their ticket by 700 votes, and the Mormon 
game was up. They disbanded their party ; two 
years later the Liberal party was similarly called 
together and disbanded. Utah divided itself into 
Eepublicans and Democrats like the rest of America. 
Mormonism abandoned its claim to identify Church 
with State. It gave up polygamy. The revelation 
from Christ and Brigham Young suspending it was 
hastened, say certain Gentiles, by the imminent pas- 
sage of a bill disfranchising the husband of many 
wives. The sharp line between saint and sinner was 
rubbed out, and Mormonism became a mere sect like 
any other. 

I thought I should like to have a IMormon view 
of the matter. So the Secretary of the Chamber of 
Commerce obligingly rang up the Church of Jesus 
Christ of the Latter -Day Saints on the telephone. 
In a few minutes I was presenting myself to a lofty- 
browed, silver-haired old gentleman — whether he was 
apostle, high priest, or elder I did not gather, but 
for picturesqueness we will call him an apostle. He 
was very far from admitting that his Church was 
dead. A continuous stream of missionaries leaves 
Salt Lake City every month. " I myself went round 
the world on missionary work when I was twenty-two," 
he said. " Of my thirteen sons three are missionaries. 
We have three thousand Mormons in London, and 
many more in Europe, especially in Germany and 
Scandinavia. With the Latin races we have never 



"FAITH CAME ALONG." 215 

made progress, and we have abandoned Palestine and 
Turkey for the present. They do not right now offer 
a favourable field for our work." 

I said I could understand that right now they did 
not. " When I went round the world," continued the 
apostle, " I took neither staff nor scrip with me. You 
know we believe in the exact words of the Scripture 
without any spiritualising or interpretation. And I 
never begged a dollar or lacked a meal of victual. I 
was kind and loving, and temperate and exemplary, 
and the Lord always sent what I required. It needed 
faith — a good deal of faith sometimes — but faith came 
along. And the Lord provided." A missionary is 
chosen and sent out at a word from the authorities 
of the Church. Farmer, mechanic, lawyer, man of 
business, he must sell out and go. And when a 
convert comes home, as they call Utah, the Church 
similarly decides where he shall go and what he 
shall do. There are Mormon colonies now in British 
Columbia, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, 
and Mexico proper — in which last they are suspected 
of preserving a surreptitious polygamy. The colonial 
system led us on to talk of the organisation of the 
Church. " It's a beautiful organisation," he said. 

And so it is. I doubt if even the Church of Eome 
can show a better. There is a first president, and two 
others — the first, an old gentleman of ninety, named 
Woodruff, who was among the pioneers of 1847. 
This father of his people was out of town, and I 



21 G AMONG THE MORMONS. 

could not meet him ; it is recorded that on arriving 
here, fifty years ago, his first act, before breaking his 
fast, was to plant half a bushel of seed potatoes, and 
I am sure I should have loved him. One of the 
other presidents is a nephew of " Joseph Smith, the 
prophet," as it was curious to hear the apostle call 
him. Under them are twelve apostles, and then the 
seventy, as you may read in the New Testament. 
The ordinary saints are brigaded into subordinate 
seventies, with sevens over them. The Church is 
supported by tithes, paid religiously in kind down to 
the tenth egg. For purposes of Church administra- 
tion the country is parcelled out into states and 
counties, wards and precincts, for all the world as 
in the political hierarchy. If two Mormons have a 
dispute it is brought before the teacher, or priest, or 
deacon ; if he fails to reconcile tlic parties, the bishop 
of the county has a try. If they are still recalcitrant, 
the matter comes before a council of fifteen. Six 
range themselves on the side of each, and one out of 
each six acts as attorney ; the three remaining mem- 
bers form the court of appeal. If this method does not 
succeed in recommending a decision, there remains an 
appeal to the three presidents, whose word is final. 

"Then you discourage litigation in the civil courts?" 
I said. " We discourage it, and we have very little of 
it," answered the apostle. " I wish you had time to 
visit the ])enitentiary here ; you would not find a 
Mormon in the place. Tlic warder told me so tlie 



"YES, SIR; POLYGAMY IS EXPENSIVE." 217 

other day, and he is a non-Mormon — we do not speak 
of outsiders as Gentiles among ourselves — and so are 
all the judges here, so tliere is no prejudice in our 
favour. Yet in the cities like this or Ogden, our young 
people are exposed to temptations. There arc drink- 
ing-saloons and other undesirable houses." I said 
there were in most cities I knew. " But there were 
none before non-Mormons came here," he said quickly. 
" In parts of this State, where the whole population is 
Mormon, you will find they use neither tobacco nor 
tea nor coffee, much less saloons or houses of ill-fame. 
Our system of polygamy saved us from that. We 
have been much maligned because of our polygamy," 
he went on. " We practised it for tliat and for the 
sake of children. If it liad been for lust there were 
other less expensive ways. You know your children 
can follow you to Heaven, but you can't take your 
mining shares and your railroads. In the Bible, you 
will remember children are always held the greatest 
of blessings. 

" I have done six months' imprisonment," he broke 
out suddenly, wlieeling round in his chair. " I have 
been imprisoned for maintaining my wives and chil- 
dren ; and yet no more than two or three per cent 
of our people ever made polygamous marriages." " I 
suppose they couldn't afTord it," I .said. "Yes, sir," 
answered the apostle, " polygamy is expensive. Poly- 
gamy is very expensive, sir. It runs," he continued 
musingly, " into a great many thousand dollars." 



218 AMONG THE MORMONS. 

I am afraid I almost laughed to see this truly 
apostolic father stroking his venerable beard and 
moralising on the expense of polygamy. But I 
contrived to keep a straight face as the polygamous 
veteran continued his exposition. "We were doing 
a great work," he said, " if they had only let us alone. 
We were trying a great experiment. Our aim was 
to produce an entirely perfect race — no physical 
deformity, no ugliness, no vice, no crime." 

" I don't quite see how you expected to avoid 
physical deformity, at any rate," I said, " unless it 
could be done by temperance and by the influence 
of climate" — for the climate of Salt Lake City is the 
softest, benignest, and most exhilarating in the world. 
" Partly by that and partly by polygamy," he said. 
" I'^y polygamy ? " 

" Yes, sir. Our theory is that woman is above all 
things the mother. We treat her as mother, not as 
wife, during the period when her maternal duties 
to her offspring are most sacred, trying all the time 
to surround her by scenes of kindness and gentleness, 
love and holiness. That must have its influence, sir. 
You see it in our horses and our dogs ; why not in 
our women ? As for sentimental love, that is 
rubbish, — never lasts longer than the honeymoon, 
sir. Good day, sir. I wish you could have stayed 
to see more of us. Peace be with you." 

Polygamy, in short, is over and done with. That 
barrier broken down. Mormons and Gentiles now 



TUK COMntOMISE. 219 

live together in peace, share the State and municipal 
offices without distinction of creed, meet in lousiness, 
and to some extent socially. Occasionally, of course, 
there comes up bitter recrudescences of the twenty 
years' struggle, but forltearance is the rule. Men who 
had more than one wife live only with the earliest 
wed, though they honourably maintain the others. 
" And if an old man, who's been accustomed to poly- 
gamy all his life, breaks the law now and then," said 
a Gentile, " why, people don't try to see him." 

The present harmony is in the highest degree 
creditable to both sides, liut the younger genera- 
tion of Mormons, I was assured, were sincerely glad 
to be quit of polygamy. The young women who had 
come in contact with Gentiles never took kindly to 
the mother-and-nothing-but-a-mother theory; the 
young men with whom the Mormon typewriter or 
shop-girl walks out are almost invariably Gentiles. 
The ]\Iormon young men have ambitions, and see 
how polygamy would stand in their way. "Most 
everybody's on this earth for money," exi)lained a 
leading citizen with engaging directness, and the new 
generation of Mormons realises, with the Apostle 
quoted, that there is no nujuey in polygamy. 

United at last, Utah has gone forth prosp(!ring and 
to prosper. The credit for this may be fairly evenly 
divided. Salt Lake City has a matchless situation : 
grey mountains keep off the winds, the emerald lake 
gives health, the cloudless blue gives life and activity. 



220 AMONG THE MOKMONS. 

That selection is due to the founder, Brigham Young. 
In the broad, clean regularity of its streets, their 
even paving, the brooks that cool and cleanse them 
on either side, the avenues of trees, the complete 
system of telephones and electric tramways, the 
solidly commodious, if uninspiring, business buildings 
— in all these Salt Lake City has no peer in America, 
West or East. All that has been done in the six 
years since the election that seated the tJentiles in 
the civic chair. In those six years the population 
of the city has doubled. On the Mormon side of 
the account must be set the agriculture and the 
factories. With fine soil, and the best system of 
irrigation in America, depending for water not on 
wayward droppings from the clouds, as do the States 
immediately East, but on the never - disappointing 
snow that melts on the mountains, Utah surpasses 
every State in the Union in the uniform generosity 
of her valleys. Slie can produce four crops of 
lucerne in a year, and, witli three crops, seven tons of 
hay to an acre. Six hundred bushels of potatoes to 
the acre is no unheard-of yield, and almost every 
European vegetable and fruit grows almost of itself. 
Sheep and cattle thrive and multiply prodigiously. 
Besides this, Brigham Young took care to equip his 
city with manufactories. There were wool-mills here 
when nothing of the kind had been heard of elsewliere 
from the Mississippi to the Pacific. There is a silk- 
mill, a shoe-factory, a sugar-mill. It was the policy of 



THE WEALTH OF UTAH. 221 

Young to make Utah self-sufficing for all her needs. 
He had to, for she was insulated from the world. And 
to avoid Gentile contamination Young tried to inten- 
sify this insulation with one hand and neutralised its 
inconveniences with the other. 

The ring-fence broke down, as others have done and 
will do before the demoniac energy with which the 
Anglo-Saxon fights his way to where there is gold. 
The Mormon question scared capital away, and there- 
fore the Mormon question had to be solved. But, 
thanks in part to Mormonism, in part to the Anglo- 
Saxon, Utah is now probably the most prosperous and 
promising of all Western States. " I say to you, sir," 
said a prominent man of business, " that this is the 
richest mineral area in America. If silver goes down, 
we have the gold ; if the mines peter out, we have the 
crops ; if the crops fail, we have the stock. It looks, 
sir, as if the Almighty had selected this land for 
special blessings such as have been given to no other." 
And certainly the prospective metallic wealth of Utah 
is amazing. As yet it is hardly scratched here, as 
elsewhere in America : that is proved by the continual 
revival of camps like Leadville or Mercur that had 
been once or twice deserted and allowed to fall to 
pieces. Now in Utah is found every known metal in 
the world except two. There is salt enough in the 
Great Lake, to say nothing of the rock veins of pure 
salt, as clear as ice, to pay off every national debt in 
the world. There are two kinds of mineral rubber — 



222 AMONG THE MORMONS. 

gilsonite and elaterite — which are found nowhere else, 
except in little bits in Galicia. There is ozocerite, or 
mineral wax, which is the best electrical insulator 
known. There are saltpetre, alum, zinc, quicksilver, 
mica, jasper, asbestos, coal, marble, iron, lead, copper, 
silver, gold. Silver has been found in sandstone, 
where it was geologically impossible that it should 
ever get, and even in the trunks of a petrified forest. 
More to the point, there are silver-mines in Utah that 
have more than paid in dividends for all the stock 
held in them. The Centennial Eureka has paid 
£360,000 on a capital of £300,000 ; the Bullion Beck, 
£421,000 on £200,000. Half-a-dozen others have done 
almost as much. The Ontario is the richest silver- 
mine in the world except the Broken Hill. It has 
paid over £200,000 more in dividends than any mine 
in America ; it has a pump that cost £100,000, forty- 
five miles of works, and a drainage tunnel three miles 
long. Even to-day, with silver down to sixty-five 
cents an ounce, these mines, being well equipped with 
plant, go on steadily producing and steadily paying 
dividends. 

Why had I never heard of this before ? The reason 
given was that the Utah people kept as mum about 
their riches as a boy with an apple. The sons of the 
men of California and of the Comstock, they had 
mining in the blood ; they went in scientifically and 
professionally — ^just mined and paid dividends, and 
made no noise about it. The men of Colorado were 



THE AMEKICAN RAND. 223 

all amateurs — clerks and book-keepers, lawyers and 
doctors — and when they made a find, says Utah, they 
cackled over it like a hen with her first egg. 

But besides all this, Utah has a Eand of her own. 
This is in the Mercur district, once the seat of famous 
silver-mines and workings for cinnabar, now defunct. 
How the gold got to be there as a chloride nobody 
knows. It may have descended to the bed of an in- 
land sea, or have been shot up by geysers from the 
centre of the earth. But there it is — about £3, 10s. 
to the ton, as at Johannesburg, and treated, as there, 
by the cyanide process, which saves some 85 per cent 
of the gold. Thanks to this process, ore can be mined, 
transported, and milled at about 14s. a ton. Some 
ores in the Golden Gate Mine yield £400 per ton. 
There is said to be an area of thirty miles where a 
profit of over £2 per ton is as safe as the Bank of 
England. And how much there is of this American 
Hand, Heaven only knows. It is in its puling infancy, 
and no man has seen beyond the very beginning of 
it. If I were a capitalist I am not sure but I would 
put a bit on Utah. 



224 



XXV. 



THE PACIFIC SLOPE. 



San Francisco, October 17. 

An hour or so out of Leadville and you are straddling 
the roof of North America. Long sweeping ascents 
hoist you to the summit of a pass 11,500 feet above 
the sea; then through a tunnel you plunge down 
the first reaches of the Pacific slope. Clinging to 
the skirts of the mountains, swooping round impos- 
sible curves, taking headers down impossible gradients, 
the train liurls you in a matter of a few hours out 
of the Arctic into lost midsummer again. At six 
in the morning Leadville was shivering under the 
pale dawn ; at noon the sun was roasting a tropical 
desert. The highest railway pass of the Eockies had 
been surprisingly un- Alpine, and it must be owned 
that the American advertiser has over-estimated its 
sublimity. It recalled Scotland far more nearly than 
Zermatt. You were continually passing glades of 
yellow grass and dry stunted bushes that at a dis- 



THE RIO GRANDE. 225 

tance might pass for heather - glades studded with 
little lochs and traversed by chattering little burns. 
The splashes of snow on the mountain faces were 
but infrequent, and never once did the train top 
the belt of firs, Nearly all of these trees had been 
fired in the early days of the railroad. Charred 
stumps and beams strewed the slopes, and the stand- 
ing trunks were mostly black and bare of every twig. 
It was literally a forest of masts. By mid-day we 
had dropped clear out of the highland, and passed 
into an altogether new land — a land of oriental srlare 
and colour. It began with a canon of red rock, piling 
itself up on both sides till we and our guiding torrent 
seemed like to sink so deep into the bowels of the 
earth that we should never find our way up to the 
light again. Between these walls of crimson sand- 
stone we presently ran into the broadening valley 
of the Eio Grande, These walls of rock were no 
metaphor, but the strictest reality — sheer down from 
summit to base, with acres of face that might have 
been squared with a plummet. In reality they had 
been cut clean out by the river. The valley was 
covered with quilted sand, showing where the streams 
had crossed and united and parted in the wet season. 
Overhead, along the crest of the red precipices, a 
frieze of fir-trees hinted at a world on a higher 
plane, at which we were only allowed to guess. 

The sun grew fiercer, the plain wider and more arid. 
The air was very clear and very dry, and the out- 

P 



226 THE TACIFIC SLOPE. 

lines of the diverging mountains hardened. We 
were in a great desert of sand and stones and whirl- 
ing dust. It was cruel on the aching eyes, for green 
is the only colour that refreshes, and there was no 
green here. For growth there were but a few trees, 
touched by autumn into a more dazzling yellow than 
the buttercup's, and tufts of silver-grey sage. Yet 
this parched waste stole upon the senses with an 
imperious beauty that became a fascination. The 
sky was sapphire; this again is no figure of speech, 
for it shed out on the air an illumination more 
lustrous than it received. Under this luminous blue 
the mountains stood up in all fantastic shapes, painted 
like the rainbow. Other ranges display an emulous 
confusion, one peak struggling to overtop another. 
These preserved their level and their combination 
for miles together. Grey and cinnamon-brown were 
their dominant colours; but their huge flanks were 
blotched and mottled with salmon and blood -red, 
puce, mauve, and purple. On one side they would 
line themselves out in barbaric palaces, towers and 
parapets, giant castle gates, and long stretches of 
sheer battlement, domes, minarets, and pagodas — all 
marbled and barred and blazoned with every hue 
that is rich and delicate in the world. On the other 
hand would be flat shapeless mounds of dead tone- 
less grey — God's dump-heaps, whereupon was cast 
all the rubble left over in the making of the world. 
And over all, at sundown, there floated in the Western 



IN NEVADA. 227 

sky magic islands and lagoons of shining scarlet, living 
violet, molten gold. 

To leave hyperbole, this desert of Western Colorado 
and Utah was the one thing that nobody seems to 
have thought it worth while to advertise, and the 
one thing that no words can overpraise or equal. 
Next day w^e were in Nevada. To go into detail 
about the scenery of Nevada, even if there were any 
detail to go into, would be kicking Nevada when she 
is down. There was a day — the day of the now for- 
gotten Comstock lode, which built half San Francisco 
— when Nevada was the most brilliant star on the 
Hag. You had only to step into Nevada to make a 
fortune ; anything in the world you might take there 
and sell for your ovv^n price. But that day is done. 
The Comstock is worked out. Most of the silver 
mmes are shut down, and the camps are silted up 
in sand. Nevada is the only State whose population 
decreased between the censuses of 1880 and 1890 ; 
it sank from 62,000 to a beggarly 45,000 — a figure 
exceeded even then by the infant territory of Okla- 
homa. Yet Nevada is without doubt honeycombed 
with precious metals, and if it will only rain a little 
oftener, and if silver will only go up to ninety cents 
an ounce, Nevada may be a great State again. Mean- 
while the passing impression of it is summed up in 
one word — dust. Alkaline dust that came eddying 
in through every crack in the Pullman till blue coats 
went yellow, and the floor was crisp with it — dust 



228 THE PACIFIC SLOPE. 

that caked the throat, and clogged the nostrils, and 
stung the eyes. The sun went down this day in a 
thick blinding mist— a mist of dust. 

The third morning we awoke in California. Here 
was another turn of the kaleidoscope, displaying huge 
well-tilled fields, fenced with substantial posts and 
rails, heavy stacks of hay and straw, and well-nourished 
stock. It was dry, for the rains will not come for a 
few weeks yet ; but it looked like business. Indeed 
California is the most versatile State of the Union, 
and wants only time to be among the richest. In 
the production of wheat she stands third to Kansas 
and Minnesota. Alone in California is found a won- 
derful harvester, which reaps, threshes, and sacks 
ffrain and stacks straw all at once. In the number 
of her sheep she comes first, exceeding even Mr 
M'Kinley's soon-to-be-protected Ohio. Of the beet- 
sugar States she is easily first, though Louisiana 
produces far more from the cane. Her vines and 
her fruits are famous over all America, and now she 
is beginning to do wonders with almonds and olives. 
As for her gold, who has not heard of it ? She has 
put out nearly twice as much as all the other States 
together. When the long-promised, long-delayed high 
prices come in sight there should be new fortunes to 
make in California, and new palaces to build on Nob 
Hill in San Francisco. 

The people of the Pacific slope, living in a country 
that has very manifestly ways of its own and a will 



MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. 229 

of its own, have adapted themselves to their environ- 
ment. What it seems good to them to do, that they 
do. With many of them fancy goes no further than 
the wearing of black shirts ; with others it takes 
stronger flights, and soars to clearing out banks and 
holding up trains. The other day three enterprising 
persons were shot down by the citizens of a small 
town in Colorado while attempting the first exploit. 
The day before a solitary figure, with a perforated 
sack for a face, climbed over the tender on the Pacific 
express mail not a dozen miles from the important 
junction of Ogden. " Throw up your hands, gentle- 
men," said a small man with two revolvers, adding 
with simple dignity, " I am here to rob this train." 
And rob it he did. Uncoupling the engine and mail- 
cars, he ran them with his own hands half a mile 
down the line, pocketed the contents of the registered 
letters, and has not been heard of since. All the 
inhabitants of the Pacific slope have not the genius 
of this admirable bandit. Yet nearly all have a 
pretty taste in dress and manners, which are fit for 
any court in the world by their absolute innocence 
of any formula or constraint. If a dishevelled rufiian 
feels sentimental in the train he takes his banjo from 
beside his gun and strums a serenade. A stoppage 
of the train reveals the fact that it is but " Ta-ra-ra- 
boom-de-ay," and out of tune at that ; but the romance 
of his liquid eyes fixed passionately upon a fiy on the 
wall remains one of the finest things on earth. AH 



230 THE PACIFIC SLOPE. 

the little regulations of life on the train are abrogated 
by mutual consent "West of the Rockies. If it seems 
good to you to sit a few miles on the footboard you 
do it. On the mail trains there is, of course, a certain 
compulsion to get to San Francisco somewhere within 
hail of schedule time. But on the side-lines the con- 
ductor will always stop half an hour to give you time 
to get out and boil an egg. 

San Francisco is the capital of the Pacific slope — 
the metropolis of an empire roughly a dozen times the 
size of England. Here, so rumour says. Western free- 
dom from restraint takes a special form ; it is said to 
be the one city of America where you can maintain a 
semi-official wife without the least prejudice to your 
position in society. " Many of the fair matrons of San 
Francisco," remarks the local guide-book, genially, 
" have memories of gallant times at the Cliff House 
that lie buried in their hearts as their greatest secrets. 
The history of many a midnight revel there will for 
ever lie buried in oblivion." No doubt ; but the fleet- 
ing stranger has not time to investigate these affairs. 
To him the outward aspect of San Francisco would 
almost appear tame and suburban but for the ground 
on which it is built. Standing on a stretch of billow- 
ing sandhills, it everywhere exposes a panorama of 
roofs. You seem to have a more intimate knowledge 
of it than of cities where you can only see a few walls 
at a time. At night, too, the long dipping lines of 
lights give an impression of distance and size, air and 



"A KAPID SLOPE." 231 

freedom. To-night — Saturday night — best part of the 
city is gathered into Market Street, the central artery. 
The dense, business-like promenade on each pavement 
suggests Princes Street in Edinburgh — except that 
here is electric light instead of half- darkness, as there 
was till lately in Edinburgh — and an air at once light 
and lung-illling instead of fog. Down the street, to 
the accompaniment of a band and a rocket or two, 
comes a political demonstration — a small thing to the 
veteran of Chicago Day. At the corner where the 
local candidate is to speak a scientifically built bonfire 
is dispensing heat and blaze and liberal sparks. What 
would the police say — the Briton wonders phlegmati- 
cally — if Mr Goschen announced his campaign by a 
bonfire in front of St George's, Hanover Square ? 
But in this land of competing sensations some such 
little attraction is as necessary as the candidate 
himself. 

" It's a very rapid slope," remarked a gentleman at 
Leadville of this portion of the country, and in the 
moral sense, in which he used them, his words were 
true. The newspapers are even more sensational than 
in New York. The Emporium — the Bon Marche of 
San Francisco, and one of the numerous biggest stores 
on earth that this country boasts — finds it conducive 
to trade to woo its patrons by a band of music perched 
on a pedestal in the midst of a restaurant, and under 
a dazzlingly illuminated glass dome. It also has the 
happy idea of setting up a balustrade in the midst of 



232 THE PACIFIC SLOPE. 

one of the important departments, over which you 
can watch "olden-haired maidens receivintr cash and 
popping back change into gilt pneumatic tubes. 

No doubt San Francisco must be amused. It has a 
park, which may not be the biggest in the world, but 
is probably the most completely equipped for pleasure 
without overmuch profit. Within a thousand acres it 
contains lawns and drives and beds of dahlias, chry- 
santhemums, and caunas vying with those of Chicago ; 
a series of hothouses with tropical plants in earth and 
water ; a bicycle - track, a riding - track, a baseball- 
ground, a children's playground with swings, giant- 
strides, and donkeys ; a Japanese garden with a fur- 
nished bungalow, and miniature bridges and streams, 
and shrubs tied down with string into the gnarled and 
twisted forms of miniature forest trees ; a belvidere, 
with view over the Pacific; a waterfall and three 
artificial lakes with boats ; a museum and a valley 
laid out with seats for concerts ; an aviary with 
canaries and blue-grey red-billed Java sparrows and 
illuminated humming-birds and macaws ; a deer-park, 
with kangaroos ; a squirrel -house ; a grizzly bear 
(presented by a local newspaper) ; and half-a-dozen 
survivors of the bison. Hampstead Heath, the Zoo, 
the British Museum, Battersea Park, and the Hall by 
the Sea may each have something that this Park has 
not. But what a boon for Bank Holidays to liave 
them all together in one ! 

O 

Then there is Cliff House, remembered of fair 



THE DIVERSIONS OF SAN FRANCISCO. 233 

matrons. By it are the baths, the biggest — but let 
us avoid tautology. Besides many huge basins of 
water of all depths and all temperatures, besides 
every acrobatic device for not getting straight into 
the water, besides rows and rows of dressinij-room.s 
like tlie corridors of a first - rate hotel, the biggest 
basin has a bandstand in the middle, and a hutje 
theatre round it, where San Francisco can hear con- 
certs and see swimming shows. Likewise, there is a 
museum of weird sea-beasts and Japanese tableaux, 
and a panorama of the world. When you are tired of 
that there are gardens with wliite plaster statuary, 
and a monkey-house and a terrace overlooking the 
sea. Hence you can waLch the dirty-yellow sea-lions 
sprawling on tlie rocks below, and listen to them 
barking like retrievers. On the right a streak of 
cloud hangs half-way up the clill's that form the 
northern pillar of the Golden Gate. In front the 
Farallones Islands, twenty-eight miles out — the last 
speck of West before West becomes East — make little 
dints in the orange flames of the sunset. Tlie black- 
ening rollers of the Pacific thud beneath your feet. 
Turning round, you face the hotel — busy, hospitable, 
discreet — where they are serving dinners for two in 
private rooms. A rapid slope ? At any rate, tlie San 
Franciscans enjoy themselves. 



234 



XXVI. 



THE ISSUE. 



San Francisco, October 18. 

I HEARD a short while ago an explanation of the 
Silver movement, and its culmination at the Chicago 
Convention, which was so elaborately picturesque 
that it is perhaps worth while setting down here. 
According to this theory, the Chicago platform was 
only the last move of a game which has been playing 
ever since the Sherman Act, if not for many years 
longer. It is an enormous political-commercial job 
on the part of silver -owners and their friends to 
secure for themselves the control of the whole aovern- 
ment of the United States, and untold booty besides. 

One of the operations of this ring was the tremen- 
dous bulling of silver immediately after the Sherman 
Act had authorised huge purchases of that metal by 
the United States Government. In league, it is said, 
with the Eothschilds and other great capitalists, the 
silver men forced up the price of their metal almost 
to par with gold; they would have got it actually 



SILVER IN THE SENATE. 235 

to par, or even to a premium, and reaped enormous 
profits, liad not the Baring failure come upon them to 
throw their combination out of joint. 

But the most interesting side of the great game has 
been the political. The silver barons aimed at raising 
themselves into a power like the Chartered Company, 
as seen by its enemies — a power which should use the 
leverage of politics for huge private gains, and the 
attainment of unlimited personal ambition. It began 
in the Senate. Under the United States constitution 
the Senate is not based upon proportional representa- 
tion, as are the House of llepresentatives and the 
Electoral College for the choice of President. Every 
State, great or small, sends two Senators to Wasliing- 
tuii. It is evident that this provision of the consti- 
tution offers a prodigious opportunity to an interest 
having the local distribution of the silver -mining 
industry. Colorado, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana 
contain between them, on the last census, less than 
seven hundred thousand inhabitants. The State of 
New York has well over five millions, but the four 
States have eight Senators to New York's two. 

Now, these four States being virtually nothing but 
silver-mining camps, it was easy for the silver ring to 
establish a party in the Senate representing the ring, 
and nothing but the ring, just as Mr liochfort Maguire 
was said to represent, not County Clare, but Mr Cecil 
Rhodes. Hence arose a group of such men as Senators 
Teller, Dubois, Stewart, and Jones of Nevada — some 



236 THE ISSUE. 

of them uiine-owiiers, some of them attorneys engaged 
for the political representation of the silver interest, 
but all of them men of great ability and adroitness. 
Nominally Eepublicans, really buccaneers, they begin 
by putting pressure on the party of their putative 
affiliation. They bartered their support of Protec- 
tion against a toleration on the part of the official 
Republicans of bimetallism. It became a sort of 
working principle of the Republican party that no 
official pronouncement must be made derogatory to 
the claims of silver. The party expressed itself again 
and again in favour of bimetallism. Mr M'Kinley 
expressed himself personally again and again to the 
same effect ; he would have been perfectly ready to 
fight this campaign on the free silver basis if the 
Convention of St Louis had told him to. 

Meanwhile — and herein lies the beauty of the 
combination — the silver group had been at work 
with the Democratic party also. The rural districts 
were manured with tons of ' Coin's Financial School.' 
The Silver party got to work in the local units of 
organisation — the primaries in the precincts, the com- 
mittees in the counties. They worked so secretly 
and to such purpose that the Democratic party was 
leavened with the theory of free coinage, and the 
organisation captured before Gold Standard Demo- 
crats, like President Cleveland and Senator Hill, 
realised what was upon them. Then came the 
Chicago Convention. To the Convention came all 



THE TWO CONVENTIONS. 237 

tlie delegates from the already electroplated local 
organisations, ready to vote for silver. More than 
this, the ring — remember, I am only repeating, though 
repeating what I was told by a man of great know- 
ledge and a foremost economical authority — had pre- 
pared them a man against the Presidential nomination, 
as Samuel had prepared Saul in the Bible. That Mr 
Bryan's great speech about the Crown of Thorns and 
the Cross of Gold had been written out and rehearsed 
beforehand nobody familiar with the unspontaneous 
methods of American political oratory can doubt for 
a moment. But on this theory tlie delegates were 
also prepared. The storming of the Convention by 
that speech, and the nomination of Mr Bryan, were 
nothing more nor less than a put-up scheme, carefully 
worked out for weeks before. With the official 
Democracy definitely pledged to independent free 
coinage of silver, and the official Republicanism afraid 
to pledge itself definitely against it, the silver buc- 
caneers stood indeed on velvet. 

But then came the St Louis Convention, and put 
the whole game to the touch. Even the St Louis 
Convention dared not put itself on record as opposing 
bimetallism outright. J5ut it declared for waiting 
upon the consent of other nations. By the strenuous 
efforts of Mr Kohlsaat, a Chicago capitalist, the Con- 
vention was induced to take a firm line for the gold 
standard, on present conditions. Even that was touch 
and go, for the party wished to hedge to tlie last, and 



238 THE ISSUE. 

to leave the decisive word " gold " out of its declara- 
tion of faith. ]]ut Mr Kohlsaat insisted, and the 
battle of gold was won. Then followed what was 
described to me as a great uprising of the national 
financial conscience — not unmixed, I would add, with 
the personal financial conscience. Anyhow, the feel- 
ing for gold surged up, and the Tellers and Stewarts 
saw themselves obliged to quit their double - faced 
machinations and go into a straight fight. For them 
and their clients the stake is variously put at from 
seven to twelve millions sterling a -year. That is 
what they stand to win if free silver becomes law 
and sends the bullion up to par. To this trifle they 
add the political dominion of seventy millions of 
people. It is a big stake — perhaps the biggest played 
for since Napoleon, anyhow the biggest since Dr 
Jameson. But by the best accounts that stake is 
not going to be landed. 

All this may be an imaginative libel ; it is strenu- 
ously denied that there is any silver trust at all : but 
it is a good story, so let it go. At any rate, it is 
illustrative of the questions on which this election is 
hinging. People state and deplore the fact that for 
the first time in the history of the States the poor are 
now banded against the rich. Others point out that 
you can draw an almost exact frontier along the 
Potomac, Ohio, and Mississippi, that cuts off the 
Bryan country and the JNI'Kinley country. For the 
second time in the history of the States one territorial 



• BREAD-AND-BUTTER POLITICS. 239 

area is brigaded against another. But I believe that 
both these facts, striking enough superficially, are only 
accidental. The real fight is not poor against rich or 
South and West against North and East, but one com- 
mercial interest against another, a fight of pocket 
against pocket. In the North they make their money 
by financial operations, banking, brokering, and the 
like, and by manufactures. Free silver would dis- 
locate the first of these operations, and Protection 
would put a premium on the second. In the South 
and the Mississippi valley they make their money, 
when tliey make it at all, by crops. Free silver 
would mean higher prices for their produce, and 
perhaps a relief from their debts due to the North, 
while Protection would, to a certain extent, put tlieni 
in the hands of the manufacturing trusts. In the 
Eockies they mine. Free silver would raise the value 
of their depreciated product, and give employment to 
perhaps a quarter of a million of idle men. On the 
Pacific Coast they mine gold and farm. Free silver 
would hurt the one industry and help the other. 
Therefore the Pacific Coast stands in a somewhat 
vague and doubtful position. It is bread-and-butter 
politics, all through, from Cape Cod to the Golden 
Gate. 

Perhaps an exception to this generalisation ouglit 
to be made as regards the South ; there bitterness 
against the Nortli is probably at least as potent as 
the economic factor. But for other parts of [ho. 



240 THE ISSUE. 

country one or two examples seem to go in support 
of my theory of this election. One of the few States 
west of the Missouri where Mr M'Kinley is conceded 
to have a chance is Wyoming. Wyoming is a rather 
absurd little State, given over to female suffrage and 
generous divorce laws ; it has the smallest population 
in the Union except Nevada, and nobody pretends to 
take Wyoming seriously. But Wyoming gets its living, 
not like Montana in the North by silver mining, or 
Nebraska in the East by farming, but by the produc- 
tion of coal. The mines are largely owned and man- 
aged by Eastern capitalists. Now, if Mr M'Kinley is 
elected, one of the anticipated blessings of his reign is 
a protective tariff on coal. Wyoming reckons to be 
then able to sell coal in San Francisco cheaper than it 
can be sold from Vancouver Island, and Wyoming 
reckons to put much money in its purse. Therefore, 
there is thought to be a possibility — so I am assured 
by seemingly good authority: I have not set foot inside 
the State — tliat Wyoming, in the very heart of the 
Bryan district, will cast her three votes for M'Kinley. 
Utah affords another instance. Nobody supposes that 
Utah is going for M'Kinley ; silver is too strong for 
that. But apart from the silver industry, Utah grows 
sheep and cattle. Therefore a Protective duty on 
wool and on Mexican imported cattle would put 
money in Utah's purse also ; whence shrewd judges 
predict a strong minority in Utah also for M'Kinley. 
These two cases illustrate and explain the very 



IN A NUTSHELL. 241 

practical interest which every single citizen takes 
in this election. No doubt the theoretical question 
has its charm. Where the heart is there will the 
conversation be ; probably no democracy has ever 
tasted the privileges of popular government with 
such gluttonous enjoyment as the United States have 
enjoyed these six months' talk of dollars. But the 
matter goes deeper than the mere pleasure of academic 
debate. This is perhaps the only contested election 
of the world's history in which every elector has a 
direct money interest in the result. The only diffi- 
culty is to determine exactly where that interest 
lies. The arguments of either party are directed less 
to maintaining the broad balance of national expedi- 
ency than to showing the individual voter that it was 
money in his individual pocket to vote for this man 
or the other. It must not be inferred from this that 
arguments which take higher ground — appeals to na- 
tional integrity and patriotism — are consciously, or 
even unconsciously, insincere. Without doubt, many 
men support the gold standard because they believe 
that to abandon it wovild be to dishonour the bill of 
their country. Many support silver because they 
believe that it will lead back to national prosperity. 
But, to put it summarily, the East has money, and 
therefore wants to keep up the price of it ; the West 
and Soutli have none, and therefore want to keep the 
price down. That is the issue in a nutshell. 



Q 



24: 



XXVTT. 



THE HEATHEN CHINEE. 



San Francisco, October 19. 

The Heathen Chinee is pecnliar to San Francisco and 
the Pacific coast. Not but what as an individual lie 
is fairly common in New York ; nowhere, indeed, in 
the United States would anybody ever tuin to look- 
back at a Chinaman. lUit it is only in San Francisco, 
which stands opposite to his own country, that he has 
attained the proportions of a racial problem. It is no 
inapt illustration, by the way, of the vastness of tliis 
country that it maintains a full-grown racial problem 
at each end, each one knowing little and caring 
nothing of the other. In tlie Soutli Atlantic States 
the sparse Chinee is ignored, but the nigger is a bug- 
bear. In the Pacific States the nigger is a fellow- 
citizen, while the Cliinee is a reptile. 

The method by which the Chinee annexed one of the 
oldest and most fashionable quartei'S of San Francisco 
for his own exclusive use has all the simplicity of true 
genius. He did it by .sheer liltli. A Chinee took a 



THE CONQUEST OF CHINATOWN. 243 

room in a house, and imported other Chinese to share 
it — for a consideration. Comparatively cleanly in 
their own persons — though only very comparatively 
— they never cleaned their clothes or their bedding, 
or their rooms or their kitchens, or anything that was 
theirs. Presently the stench became such that no 
white man would live in the house ; the whites went 
out and the yellows came in. Then the two houses on 
either side became untenantable ; they also became 
filled with Chinese. Then came the turn of the next 
two, and so on all down the street. But what was the 
owner of the houses doing all this while ? Had he 
nothing to say to this process of driving out his white 
tenants ? Not he. For houses peopled with Chinese 
are the most profitable form of property in San Fran- 
cisco. They live thirty, or forty, or fifty in a twelve- 
roomed house, and rent rolls in to a brisk tune. And 
if they cause dilapidations they never ask for repairs ; 
no building, plumbing, plastering, or painting troubles 
the landlord of the Chinese quarter. Thus the Chinee 
conquered and colonised a little city for himself in the 
heart of San Francisco — a city of dirt and colour, of 
shrewdness and superstition, of industry and de- 
bauchery ; a city absolutely oriental in the middle of 
the absolute Occident. Too far West has become East. 
Out of the blaze of electric light and the whirr of 
electric tram-cars you make one turn into darkness 
and silence. You are in the middle of China. The 
houses were built by westerners for westerners ; but 



244 THE IIKATIIKN ClIIXKK. 

it is wonderful how completely the orientals have 
orientalised them. First overlaying everything with 
a thick coat of filth, they have built out green balconies, 
hung out green streamers with huge golden signs in 
their own characters, and papered the walls with red 
placards, on which they inscribe the news of the day. 
Above a little fruit-stall you will see projecting from 
the wall a wooden box rather bigger than a coffin. 
It might be a receptacle for refuse, or perhaps a 
cistern. But it is neither ; it is the house of the stall- 
keeper. When he closes his stall at night, or in the 
early morning, he climbs into that box by a ladder, and 
goes to bed. When you see that, you begin to realise 
the possibility that white neighbours would find the 
heathen Chinee a little unsanitary. 

The Chinaman has adorned his special district of 
San Francisco with many buildings suf^ciently pre- 
tentious. There are two theatres, but neither of them 
is open just at present. This is the dead season in 
Chinese theatrical circles ; they are exchanging the 
companies that have served their year in San Francisco 
for fresh ones. The idolatrous Chinee is commend- 
ably free from muminer-worship. The actors live in 
the theatre, and that for a very sufficient reason ; if 
they show themselves in the street the people set 
upon them with sticks, stones, vegetables, and any 
other handy weapons, and half kill them. The ex- 
planation of this genial custom is that the actor, being 
a vagabond and a Bohemian, sends no money over to 



A REST AUK ANT. 245 

his relations in China, whereas all others do. To 
send money thus out of the country is, in American 
eyes, the blackest of Chinese sins; to fail to do so 
is exactly as black in the eyes of the Chinaman. 

Chinatown is also adorned with palatial restaurants. 
The Chinee can be frugal, but it is a mistake to suppose 
that he will not fling his money about on occasion. 
Banquets at two pounds a-head, with champagne and 
every delicacy of the season, are far from uncommon 
in squalid Chinatown. You enter the banqueting- 
room up a broad staircase ; the room itself is large 
and handsome, with stained floors, wooden carvings 
that may be quaint but are undeniably rich and 
elaborate, hangings of fine texture, and solid walnut- 
wood chairs with marble seats. In a corner is the 
safe in which the takings of the establishment are 
treasured. It has eight locks and eight keys — one for 
each of the eight projDrietors ; none can get at the safe 
except in the presence of all the others. The banquet 
is enriched with every meat and every drink of the 
country, sometimes with tlie choicest vintages of 
France, usually with many excellent vegetables native 
to the soil, but eaten only by the Chinee, and always 
with such delicacies as ducks flattened out and pressed 
like pressed beef, with all manner of birds and beasts 
and fish preserved and imported from China. The 
men sit round the table and feast solemnly from ten 
or so till four. The women sit in a ring behind them, 
and eat only what their nuisters are pleased to pass 



246 THE HEATHEN CHINEE. 

over their slioulders. A band of single-stringed iiddles, 
gongs, and cymbals makes music hardly conducive to 
a Western digestion. And if a reveller feels the need 
of opium, there is a divan against the wall where he 
can lie and smoke his pipe, and then rise and fall to 
again. 

The joss-houses make another of the architectural 
glories of Chinatown. Here again is much stained 
wood on floor and walls, with magnificent embroidered 
hangings, with carved and gilded wooden screens and 
decorations. The Chinese eye must be as alien to 
ours as the Chinese ear, for the Western devil can 
see little form or symmetry in the queer twists and 
twirls of these masterpieces. If the Chinee can take 
in all these multitudinous niggles and quiggles of gold, 
and at one view combine them all into one effect, then 
he must have an eye with a million facets, like a 
beetle's. One of the carvings in the biggest joss- 
house is a special gift from the Emperor of China, 
who endowed the church in recognition of a subscrip- 
tion by its members to alleviate a famine at home. 
It bears his monogram in the centre — a golden cob- 
web, not unlike the fist of Abdul the Damned as 
shown on the Turkish cigarettes. Before each shrine 
in the joss-house stands a cup of tea, in case the joss 
should feel thirsty ; he takes it without milk or sugar. 
The great shrine is a kind of altar with a hideous 
bearded image seated upon it. This represents a 
historic Chinee who actually lived on this earth, a 



THE SIX COMPANIES. 247 

brave, wise, and godly — or should we say jossly ? — man, 
who makes intercession with the real joss. The real 
joss dwells behind a screen, veiled from the public eye. 
There are no services of a congregation ; the faithful 
drop in one by one, kneel down on mats, and prefer 
their petitions. But first of all they bang a gong to 
make sure that the joss is awake and attending to his 
business. 

The Chinee is deceitful above all things, and 
desperately wicked. He is law - abiding as against 
the whites, but within Chinatown every kind of law- 
less outrage goes hardly checked. There is indeed 
a rule within rule among the Chinese. The six 
provinces which furnish the Chinese population of 
San Francisco have their several presidents. The 
six companies, they are called ; each worships in its 
separate joss-house, and talks its separate dialect. A 
suit between two members of the same company is 
brought before the president of the company ; a 
dispute between two of its different companies, before 
the six presidents in conclave. Like the Mormons, 
the Chinese discourage the use of the civil courts. 
These presidents have of course no legal status in the 
United States, but they maintain their authority in a 
manner effective and thoroughly Chinese. If a Chinee 
in San Francisco defies their mandate, they send word 
back to his native place ; whereupon his father and 
mother are burned. Cut in spite of this rule, terror 
and anarchy are the real government of Chinatown. 



248 THE HEATHEN CHINEE. 

Secret societies, known to the West under the generic 
title of Highbinders, blackmail and murder at will. 
Wealthy merchants are constrained to subscribe to 
these organisations: if they refuse, they are found 
dead in the street. A cobbler was evicted one day 
from the stall he had occupied, and a big house was 
shortly after built on its site. But not a room in that 
house could be let. The perplexed proprietor sent 
for a detective knowledgeable in the ways of China- 
town, and he discovered an unobtrusive placard on 
the new house. " Whoever occupies any part of this 
building until I am paid two thousand dollars com- 
pensation," ran its genial legend, " will be killed." 
The cobbler was accommodated with a room in the 
new house, the notice disappeared, and the building 
filled up with tenants. Sometimes the different gangs 
of Highbinders carry on private war between them- 
selves, and the streets are thick with smoke. They 
use long pistols, and rest the barrel on the left arm to 
aim ; they shoot very badly, but the streets of China- 
town are so narrow that a bullet is seldom wasted. 
However, the Highbinders have attracted the very 
urgent notice of the Government as well as that of 
the Chinese Minister at Washington. They have 
been swept out more than once. They grow up 
again, but their best days are done. 

Besides being bloodthirsty, the Chinee has, as every- 
body knows, a genius for fraud and treachery of every 
kind. The personal vices he possesses in their most 



AN OPIUM DEN. 249 

luxuriant growth. He lias invented a spirit that will 
make you drunker for ten cents than any other brew 
on earth. He smokes opium fervently without any 
British Government to tempt him to it. A tedious 
vice opium-smoking appears. Imagine a dark, dank, 
underground, foul - smelling courtyard, full of all 
manner of garbage. Eound it rise three storeys of 
vsrooden rooms with verandahs, on which the inmates 
cook their food. Open a door, and you are in a 
Chinese doss-house. It is something between a 
scullery and the forecastle of an ill-found merchant- 
man. Two tiers of filthy bunks run round it, without 
bed-clothes — accommodation for about two dozen in 
the space of a decent coal-cellar. On one of the bunks 
lay a dirty little leather -skinned old man smoking 
opium. He did not so much as turn his head at the 
entrance of foreign devils ; he took no notice of any- 
thing but his opium. In his fingers he held a long 
pipe ; before him was a lamp and a jar of opium. He 
collected a drop of the viscous syrup on a bodkin and 
kneaded it in the fiame, turning it round and round 
till it hardened into a little glutinous ball about the 
size of a pea. Then he put it in his pipe, lit it at the 
lamp, and inhaled deeply. Out came a cloud of blue, 
fragrant smoke. Another deep inhalation, another 
cloud of smoke — and the pipe was out. It took at 
least two minutes to prepare, and about ten seconds 
to smoke. To produce the desired intoxication, it 
takes a seasoned smoker twenty pipes — nearly three- 



250 TIIK IIEATltKX nilNEE. 

quarters of an hour twiddling a ueedle in a lamp-jet. 
We need not be afraid that opium-smoking will ever 
become a Western vice. 

As for the other debaucheries of the Chinee, they 
had better be left untold. He practises all that have 
names, and many that have not. All the women in 
Chinatown are bought and sold — as truly slaves as 
any mulatto girl in Carolina before the war. It is 
true that the Chinee has his virtues. He is wonder- 
fully clever in an imitative way ; he will watch a 
white man making; shoes in his booth until he is as 
good a shoemaker himself. He is a perfect servant in 
a land where servants are rare and expensive. He 
wellnigh monopolises the laundry business, not only 
in San Francisco, but in all large towns. He furnishes 
admirable tailoring; to the most fastidious dandies of 
the Pacific Coast. He is frugal, industrious, filial. 
But his very virtues conspire with his vices to earn 
him the detestation of the white man. He is a tjood 
workman : he undersells white labour. He is frugal, 
and he sends his savings home to his parents : he is 
draining money out of the country. He is a parasite, 
a louse ; shake him off". So the importation of new 
Chinamen into the States is now rigorously forbidden. 
Some come in by virtue of skilful and resolute perjury, 
but not many. Chinatown must diminish, and the 
ground won for a space by the East will pass back 
again to the West. 

In the meantime it is hard for the stranger to take 



A DREAM OF ALADDIN. 251 

Cliiiiatowii seriously for good or for evil. It is too 
much like falling asleep and dreaming of Aladdin. 
Under the soft paper lanterns there pass noiseless 
figures in blouses and loose trousers and slippers, with 
black red-tufted caps and pigtails down to their knees. 
You see the big-spectacled jewellers patiently chasing 
gold ornaments or melting them in the flames from 
their blow-pipes. You see barbers with short square 
razors, shaving head and eyebrows, cleaning out ears, 
and scraping eyeballs. Up a steep flight of broken 
stairs you see almond-eyed Jezebels simpering behind 
lattices. Then you turn twenty yards to the left, and 
there are the electric light and the electric cars again, 
dry-goods stores and cut-rate ticket -offices. It was 
surely a dream of Aladdin. 



252 



XXVIII. 



ON THE ROAD. 



Moose Jaw, Assiniboia, CA^■ADA, Octohtr 26. 

If we are a nation of shopkeepers, then the United 
States are a nation of commercial travellers. Equally 
energetic in their different ways, the shopkeeper is 
the more substantial and the more prudent of the 
two, the traveller the more vivacious, restless, and 
plausible. So it is with us and the Americans. It 
is not only the bagman proper, though he is more 
ubiquitous and more assertive here than anywhere 
else, and is respected, almost worshipped, in propor- 
tion to his assertion. But every American, bagman 
or other, must be ever on the move. 

It is necessary for his business : with an enter- 
prising caution that Britons might well emulate, he 
never invests his money in any property, be it a 
thousand miles away, without first going to take a 
look at it. But travel is also necessary for his 
pleasure, even for his existence. To him a week's 



THE EOVINCt AMERICAN. 253 

journey is far less hardship than a week's stay in the 
same place. I believe many Americans regard that 
day as wasted in which they do not see the inside of 
a railway train. This roving temperament is, after 
all, perfectly natural. The native American has it 
in his blood. He descends from generations of col- 
onists, and the colonist is essentially the man who 
thinks there is something a little further on a little 
better than what he has, and who goes after it. This 
sort of rainbow-chaser seldom makes money, but he 
makes empires. Even the emigrant into America 
acquires the vagrant disposition. I met an old friend 
in San Francisco, a man who came out here at fifty 
or so. He has not prospered — as why should he ? 
But he would be very loath to go back. " I should 
miss the journeys," he said — " going up to Victoria, 
or down to Los Angeles." Now, in England, that 
man never even wanted to go away in the summer 
from the suburb of London in which he lived. But 
when once a man has got as far as America, he 
acquires the contempt of distance ; having come so 
far, he might as well go a bit further. Americans 
often seem to travel for the mere satisfaction of going 
through a new country, and staying the night in a 
new hotel. They add them to their collection, so to 
say, as an entomologist adds a beetle. And that 
though "Western towns are all exactly alike, and 
instead of being named, might just as well be num- 
bered like their streets. Whether because of busi- 



254 ON THE KOAD. 

ness, then, or pleasure, or habit, America has to be 
well equipped for travel. And America is. 

The American constitution has been called a system 
of checks. So is American life. When you want to 
travel you give your baggage to the porter of your 
hotel, and he gives you a check in return. At the 
station you reclaim it with the check, and pass it in 
at a counter and receive another check. As you 
approach your destination a functionary comes along 
the train, takes your check, and gives you another 
check in its place. He fishes out your baggage and 
conveys it to your hotel — for a consideration. You 
have left your third and last check at the office of the 
hotel when you enter it, and thence it is delivered up 
on receipt of the baggage. At first you bless this 
arrangement as the salvation of the traveller. But 
after a few weeks of it the tyranny of the check be- 
comes so galling that you begin to long for the fine 
old English method of dumping down your goods in 
front of a porter and leaving them to find the way for 
themselves. You would even hail it as a personal 
triumph if some of your baggage would get lost. But 
it never does. Sometimes it arrives late, but it always 
arrives. Yet it seldom arrives in the shape in which 
it started, if that is any consolation. They who have 
to do with baggage see to that. You very soon dis- 
cover why Americans carry their goods in ironclad 
trunks, and why it is madness for anybody to do any- 
thing else. I started out, like an idiot, witli a new 



THE CHECK SYSTEM. 255 

leather portmanteau. They ripped the stout brass 
lock off in the first week — not for plunder apparently, 
but simply because it is the tradition of the service. 
They punched it and kicked it and danced on it. In 
softer hours, when literary inspiration came, they 
wrote on it. My portmanteau to-day is an epitome 
of the political sentiment of the United States from 
New York to San Francisco. As a historical docu- 
ment it is beyond price, and I am contemplating 
the gift of it to the library of Congress at Wash- 
ington. As a portmanteau it has both feet in tlio 
grave. 

The system of checks is not confined to travellers' 
luggage. The conductor of the train passes ceaselessly 
to and fro asking for your ticket and giving you a 
check in return, or asking for your check and return- 
ing your ticket. If you hand your stick to a boy in a 
hotel while you write your name in the register, he 
dashes off to stow it away in some secret place, and 
returns triumphant vvith a check. In the very hotel 
bar, when you buy sevenpence ha'porth of wliisky you 
get a check and walk two yards across the bar to pay 
at a desk. But the apotheosis of the check is at 
Niagara. When you go down to the Cave of the 
Winds you strip off' all your clothes and leave them, 
as well as your valuables, in a tin box with the 
attendant. Then you go down to battle with the 
cataract attired only in a suit of pyjamas, a suit of 
oilskins, and a check lashed round your nock, rising 



256 ON THE KOAD. 

and fallinn; with the beatinc; of your heart, No 
wonder the American speaks of death as handing in 
his checks. It is only by death that he can rid him- 
self of them. 

But in all such mechanical devices as these for 
saving labour or promoting convenience the Ameri- 
cans, after all, are easy masters of the world. The 
only fault to be found with them is that they push 
ingenuity so far that it sometimes becomes almost in- 
convenient. For billiard-markers, to take an instance, 
they use strings of numbered checks hung across the 
room. Now it is no easier to mark on a string of 
checks than on the ordinary sort of marker we use at 
home ; but it is novel and it is ingenious, and that is 
enough to commend it in America. You might say 
the same of the device which puts the gum of an 
envelope on the body of it and leaves the flap clean, 
until it occurs to you that thereby you can seal the 
envelope without licking the gum. Then, if you object 
to a little harmless necessary gum on your tongue, you 
cry out in admiration of the ridiculously simple stroke 
of genius which gets rid of it ; if you do not, you may 
think the invention hardly worth inventing. This is 
a very fair example of the beauty and simplicity of 
many American arrangements. Perhaps you could do 
without it, yet you cannot but admire it. 

But the field where American ingenuity runs riot 
is the railway carriage. In this, as in a warship, 
space is necessarily limited, and this necessity is the 



THE SLEEPING-CAR. 257 

fertile mother of inventions innumerable. Space is 
not, of course, so rigidly limited as in one of our 
own short four- sectioned coaches. The American 
long-distance car, to carry forty-eight people, is three 
or four times the length of ours, much higher, and 
enormously heavier. As neither tracks nor signals 
are all they might be on most American railroads, 
the cars are built to stand a tremendous strain with- 
out breaking up. The skeleton is of iron or steel 
girders, again as if it were a battleship ; with this 
framework and their general weight they would cut 
through an English railway carriage as the Majestic 
would cut through a penny steamboat. I was privi- 
leged yesterday to see one of these cars tip over. 
The West-bound train to Vancouver was leaving a 
station where it had stopped alongside of us, and in 
getting back on to the main track it ran off the 
metals. Dragged against a rail, it snapped it as you 
might snap a clay pipe-stem, and then ran over the 
edge of the low embankment. It swayed heavily, 
poised itself, seemed to hang in the air, half over, 
for a minute, two minutes — was it going to stay 
there for ever ? — then crash it went over on to its 
side. There was a shed by the track which broke 
the fall — and itself, too, as if it had been an empty 
matchbox. Yet so far as I could see the car was 
absolutely unharmed. Willing hands immediately 
smashed half-a-dozen double -windows to cjet out 
the five people who were rolling about inside. But 

K 



258 ON THE liOAD. 

I believe those windows made up the grand total of 
all the damage done. 

Inside, the sleeping-car is a miracle of luxury. All 
the wood is mahogany — or looks like it — and all the 
cushions are velvet. It looks as rich and solid as a 
British dining-room of the old school. Yet every 
single thing you see is hollow ; everything is a cup- 
board or a bed-fitting, or some convenience of the 
sort. The panels in the sloping wall above your 
head let down to form the upper berths. Between 
them and the wall of the car is stored the bedding. 
The seats — which run across the car, facing each 
other in pairs, with an aisle down the middle — draw 
out to make the lower berths. You get sheets, two 
pillows, and as many rugs as you like. The bed is 
not unreasonably short, and there is no necessity to 
tie yourself up in knots, unless you are well over 
six feet. As for breadth, the bed is as wide as a 
seat built for two persons, and I believe two persons 
sometimes occupy a berth. The objection to this is 
the rooted American hatred of fresh air, and the 
tendency to be ill if a room or car goes below 75°. 
You are even forbidden to have the window giving 
on to your berth open at night — a prohibition, like 
all others in the United States, habitually defied. As 
for your clothes, it looks impossible in the daytime 
that space could be found to dispose of them. But 
at night, when you climb into your upper berth or 
dive into your lower, you find that pegs and racks 



THE DINING-CAR. 259 

and hannnocks have grown up round you on every 
side. After two days' practice you know exactly 
where to stow each garment. There is room under 
the lower berth IVir your boots and your bag, and the 
Ijlack porter has cleaned your boots in the morning. 
It sliould be added that your modesty is protected by 
a curtain which y<iu can button as closely as you will. 
At night the car looks like a narrow tapestried pas- 
sage, with nothing but peeping boot-toes and rustling 
snores to mark it for a fully-peopled dormitory. 

This is not all the sleeping-car. There is a draw- 
ing-room — simply a cushioned coupt^, in which four 
people can live and sleep — and a smoking-room, with 
arrangements for washing and the like. There are 
hot steam-pipes under the seats which maintain an 
equable warmth, and you wonder what sort of a bar- 
barian you are to come from a country where they 
have got no further than tin water-cans. Between 
the seats are sockets on which tables can be set up, 
and the tables have clips to hold a tablecloth. In what 
arc called buffet-cars, you eat food cooked by a nigger 
who travels with the train. Such food is simple and 
almost uniformly bad. As it is cooked in a space of 
some five feet by eighteen inches, this is hardly won- 
derful. To other trains a dining-car is attached. 
With tables and comfortable seats ranged down it, 
this is a very different affair ; you are well served, 
well fed, and not heavily charged. Where no dining- 
car is attached, the train stops twenty minutes to 



260 ON THE ROAD. 

half an hour at a wayside station for meals. They 
are sometimes wonderfully good and sometimes won- 
derfully bad, and when you only halt twenty minutes 
I am not sure hut I prefer the bad. To have to eat 
through excellent trout, sausages, bacon, buttered 
eggs, fried potatoes, and beef-steak — all piled up 
round a single plate — is almost too much for twenty 
minutes, and only encourages unmanly regret for the 
unattainable. Another luxury in the way of railway 
accommodation is a drawing-room car with easy- 
chairs, but these we have at home even more sump- 
tuous. Lastly, there is the observation-car — an open 
shed on wheels, designed to give you a view of the 
scenery. 

By far the most magnificent sleeping-car I have 

met is that of the Canadian Pacific, wherein I am 

trying to write this. It is wider and loftier than 

any other, more richly and elegantly upholstered. 

You can tell at once that it hails elsewhere than 

from the United States by the inscription under the 

looking-glasses. " Tuum est," it says, and you may bet 

your life no Yankee ever had any use for a Latin 

inscription inside a railway carriage. In this car the 

two middle sections of the six have their seats along 

the wall of the car instead of across it : this gives a 

broader floor in the middle. Above these lateral 

seats are sheets of window nearly twice the usual 

size. The smoking-room, again, is an especial joy. 

It occupies the whole width of the car at its hinder 



THE r.p.n. 2G1 

end, instead of being cranked in by a corridor leading 
past it, as in most of the cars of the United States. 
Witli the same large windows on either side, and other 
windows and a door forming the back end of the car, 
it affords a splendid prospect on three sides of the 
train. The food on these C.P.R. trains is above the 
average, and the price is consistently insignificant. 
There is even — joy of joys ! — a bath-room. True, you 
may not have a bath in it, for the bath season closes 
on the first of October, but at least the bath-room 
affords a sanctuary for the naked, and he is a poor 
traveller who has not mastered the theory and prac- 
tice of taking a perpendicular bath. The sleeping and 
dining cars in the United States belong to the Pull- 
man Company, and are run by them : you take your 
berth at a different booking- oftice from that where 
you get your railway ticket. The Canadian Pacific 
owns and runs its own, and for comfort and good 
service I doubt if they have their equal in the world. 
Everything is done that admirable organisation, care, 
and courtesy can do to mitigate the horrors of the 
week's journey across the continent. The only doubt is 
whether the Company does not begin at the wrong end. 
Why not shorten the journey ? It is said that when 
Sir William Van Home travels on the line his special 
runs fifty and sixty miles an hour. We poor devils 
have never once seen forty. It would be the ea.siest 
thing in the world to shorten the journey by at lejist 
a day, and until this is done the C.P.IJ. will never 



262 ON THE EOAD. 

really compete with the Trans-continental lines far- 
ther South. 

One feature of American train life — for train life 
is what it comes to when you have passed your 
second night on board — is the deportment of the 
officials. The conductor and his subordinates, the 
porter and the brakeman, the boy who sells news- 
papers and cigars and chewing-gum — they may all 
be found sitting on the passengers' seats, dining at 
the passengers' table, washing in the passengers' 
basins, and conversing cheerfully the while with the 
passengers' selves. It is thought by some that they 
do this to show that they are as good as you. If so, 
they do it so much that they must think the fact 
needs a good deal of demonstration. Most English 
people, and many Americans, object to this habit, and 
especially complain at having to drink out of a glass 
wherefrom a nigger has just rinsed his gums. I grant 
that this is an extreme case, but then happily there 
are always two glasses. And, personally, I don't mind 
the rest of it. I have as firm a belief in the natural 
inequality of man as anybody in the world. I believe 
that I am superior in intelligence, education, and 
manners, though possibly inferior in virtue and 
material wealth, to any railway guard in America. 
But is that any reason why I should not speak to 
him ? If we spoke only to those whom we deem our 
equals, the art of language would be lost in a fort- 
night. And if I speak to him, why should he not sit 



DEMOCRACY OX THE TRAIN. 263 

down by me ? I have had most instructive conver- 
sations upon the public attitude towards Anarchism 
with a conductor whose father was a university- 
graduate, and on the currency question and political 
economy generally with a black porter. As for wash- 
ing, why not ? They don't dirty the soap ; they have, 
in fact, exactly the same quality of dirt on their 
liands as I have. At the passengers' table they eat 
quite correctly — except, of course, the blacks ; it 
would be going too far to admit them. The truth is, 
tliat so far as you treat a man as an equal, thus far 
he tends to become one. And T, unlike so many 
Americans, believe in Democracy. 



2G4 



XXIX. 



BUSINESS. 



New YoitK, October 30. 

Business is business all the world over ; so, at least, I 
have been assured by those who ouglit to know. But 
it is more emphatically business in the United States 
than anywhere else. In England business is business, 
and there's an end of it ; here business is everything, 
and there is no end or boundary to it. It afibrds the" 
one career in the country. I'olitics is a matter that 
a citizen must interest himself in one year out of 
four ; but the class which pursues politics day by day 
and week by week is a small one, and neither very 
respectable nor very respected. The Cliurch, litera- 
ture, art, the services — they may be all very excel- 
lent tilings in tlieir way if anybody has tlic curious 
fancy to make a life of them. But they are hardly 
regarded as serious careers. The leading men, uo 
where you will — the sliow citizens that your hos- 
l)itab]u entertainer gives you introductions to — are 
not any of these ; they are the lirst men of busi- 



QUALITY AND PIIICE. 265 

ness. The first men of business are the first men 
outright. 

It would be idle for me, who do not know the 
difference between a bill of exchange and a deben- 
ture, to attempt to give any idea of the methods on 
which American business is conducted. I presume 
that the law of supply and demand, pending its 
repeal by President Bryan, is much the same here 
as at home. Yet I seem to notice a keenness, a 
cut-throat ferocity of competition in America, which 
is at least less conspicuous in England. With us 
the largest and most largely advertised concerns are 
not necessarily the best, nor even reputed to be the 
best. If you want to get a bonnet, as I understand, 
of the one unmistakable and inimitable distinction, 
you do not go to Peter Piobinson's or Marshall & 
Snellgrove's, but to some little half-lighted shop in 
Bond Street. So with other commodities. The vari- 
ous supply stores and universal providers are a vast 
convenience, but I have been told that there are 
wares a shade better to be got elsewhere. But 
here everybody goes to the big store of the place, for 
the little ones cannot live with the prices. In Eng- 
land — of course with limitations — quality rules the 
market ; in America, price. 

For instance, in Philadelphia everybody goes to 
Wananiaker's. Mr Wanamaker was once Postmaster- 
General of the Eepublic, and I should think he was 
a rattling good one. His store was already the largest 



26 G BUSINESS. 

retail drapery and hosiery and haberdashery, and all 
that sort of business, in the world, when by the 
recent purchase of a giant establishment in New 
York he made it more largest still. Now the work- 
ing of Wanamaker's, as I am informed, is this. It 
is no use going there to get what you want. You 
must go to get what Mr Wanamaker wants to sell. 
He tells you each morning in the newspapers what 
he has got to-day, and if you want it you had better 
go and get it : the chances are it will be gone to- 
morrow. The head of each department is intrusted 
with a certain amount of capital, and buys his goods at 
his own discretion. But woe unto him if he does not 
turn over his capital quickly. There is a rule that no 
stock may be in the house more than, I think, three 
months ; after that off it must go at any sacrifice. 

" You can always tell when Mr Wanamaker's in 
town," said a shop -walker, "because there's always 
some change being made." And then he added, in 
a half -voice of awestricken worship, "I believe Mr 
Wanamaker loves change for its own sake." For the 
sake of custom, I should say ; for this formula of 
change for change's sake is one of the master-keys 
of American character, Mr Wanamaker keeps a pic- 
ture - gallery, with some really fine modern French 
paintings, to beguile his patrons. To-day he will 
have an orchestrion playing, to - morrow a costume 
exhibition of spinning - girls from all the lands of 
the earth, — every day something new. One day, by 



THE WANAMAKER SYSTEM. 267 

moving a table six feet, so that people had to walk 
round it instead of past it, he increased the sales of 
an article from three shillings to hundreds of pounds. 
If that is not genius, tell me what is. 

But the really Napoleonic — I was going to say 
daemonic — feature of the Wanamaker system is the 
unerring skill with which it reaps its profits out of the 
necessities of others. Fixing his price according to 
the economic doctrine of final utility — taking no ac- 
count, that is, of the cost of production, but only of 
the price at which most people will find it worth their 
while to buy — Mr Wanamaker realises 10 per cent for 
himself, and an enormous saving for the consumers. 
A cargo of rose-trees had been consigned from Holland 
to a firm of florists, which failed while the plants were 
in mid-ocean. They went a-begging till Mr Wana- 
maker bought them up and put them on the market 
at about half the rate current in Philadelphia. In ten 
days not one of the twenty thousand was left. A firm 
which manufactured hundred -dollar bicycles found 
itself without cash to meet its liabilities. Mr Wana- 
maker bought up the stock and altered the maker's 
label as well as one peculiarity of the gear. Then he 
broke the price to sixty-six dollars, and subsequently 
to thirty-three. They all went off in a week or so. 
He bought the plates of a huge edition of the hundred- 
dollar Century Dictionary, altered the title-page, bound 
them for himself, and put the article on the market at 
fifty-one dollars and a half. In six weeks he had sold 



268 BUSINESS. 

two thousand. A firm in California, which manufac- 
tures a particularly excellent kind of blanket, was in 
difficulties. Mr Wanamaker bought up the stock, and 
sold it at a third of the normal price in three days. 

All this is magnificent for the customer, and ap- 
parently not unprofitable to Mr Wanamaker. But 
plainly somebody has to pay, and who ? The small 
trader. After the rose-tree deal nobody wanted to 
liuy roses of the florists of Philadelphia. The city is 
stocked with bicycles and Century Dictionaries, and 
nobody within a radius of miles will want to buy a 
pair of blankets for a generation. Mr Wanamaker 
sends out three hundred and sixty-five thousand 
parcels to his customers in the slackest month of the 
year, and turns over thirteen million dollars annually. 
The small people, it is presumed, are ground to powder 
against the wall. 

Rather similar is the story of Armour's glue-factory 
in Chicago. Mr Armour's original line in life, as all 
the world knows, is packing pork. If your tastes lie 
in the direction of blood, you can spend a happy 
morning at his place watching dying hogs kick out 
puncheons of it. Personally I didn't like it. Not 
that I object either to blood or to pork ; but I resented 
the way in which the screaming hog, sliding down a 
rail by one of his hind-legs, is unsympathetically put 
in position for the knife by a hireling : ho nn'ght at 
least be allowed to go to the sticker in his own 
attitude. Put the pork-packing business is not what 



armour's soap. 2G9 

it was, so Mr Armour had to look to his by-products. 
Nobody would pay him a profitable price, so he went 
into the by-product business himself. He melts the 
fat in huge vats, and runs it down into moulds, where 
it congeals as soap; the soap is run through wires 
which cut it, and through machines which stamp it, 
and there you are. The fat that is over from the soap 
runs into the next room, and runs out of it as glycer- 
ine. The oddments of hide and hoof from the deceased 
tinned meat are boiled up and cooled and run through 
wires, and come out glue. The hair and bristles are 
blown about hydraulically, and lieated and cooled and 
curled, and come out ready for sofa-pillows. The shin- 
bones reappear as tooth-brushes, or go to Japan for 
imitation ivory ware ; the odd bones are ground up into 
manure. The very drippings of the fat are caught in 
a trap, on the brink of falling into the river, and 
brouglit liack captive to the soap-kettles. And what 
results from all this ? Mr Armour, having a world- 
wide repute, and a world-wide business organisation, 
is underselling the firms which cut the price of his fat 
and bristles. They sfj^ueezed liim ; now he squeezes 
them. It is tlie fortune of war. 

It is not wonderful that producers try to escape 
from the mutual butchery of business competition 
by the construction of trusts and combines. It is 
even less wonderful that the consumer fiercely re- 
sents these. You have only to represent Mr M'Kin- 
ley as the nominee of the trusts to raise a howl of 



270 BUSINESS. 

execration. But to what extent America is really 
cursed with these organisations it is hard to deter- 
mine. Newspaper agitators see a trust in every- 
thing, from bread down to meat - skewers. I am 
hardly competent to criticise the statement, but I 
doubt it. It must be borne in mind that any such 
combination to regulate the price of a necessity of 
life is illegal in this country, and it is hardly cred- 
ible that if they existed widely evidence would not 
be found to convict their members, at least occa- 
sionally. For instance, it is fairly certain that there 
is a trust in anthracite coal. That was as good as 
proved by the fact that a number of tenders being 
recently made for coal in Chicago, half-a-dozen firms 
quoted widely different figures for bituminous coal, 
but all the same high price for anthracite. Legal 
proceedings were pending, or said to be, when I left 
Chicago. On the other hand, it is urged that the 
Standard Oil Company, an arrant and unblushing 
trust, has been the means of supplying very excel- 
lent oil to everybody at a very low price. It seeks 
its profits by the extended use of oil rather than 
by a high price — by making it cheap instead of 
dear. Of course, this is no justification for leaving 
trusts unregulated by law ; that would be madness 
in any State. For the more the Standard Oil Trust 
allures the consumer to make oil a necessity of life, 
the more helpless he will be delivered into its hands 
when some day it sees fit to pocket untold millions by 



BAD AND GOOD. 271 

raising the price. But I believe — I may be wrong — 
that the present necessity for such regulation is lim- 
ited to a very few cases. 

But I am straying away from the question. \Yhat is 
the effect of this universality of business in America ? 
It has its murderous side, as we have seen. The weak 
men wlio go down are not pitied, and especially u(jt 
respected. They are dead failures. In Europe there 
remain some kindly superstitions under which the un- 
successful may take refuge from public contempt. A 
man may be incompetent, but after all he is of good 
family ; he is well educated ; he is a fine musician ; he 
is a witty fellow. But in America the man who fails 
in business has failed in the one thing there is to do. 
The one test of worth in business is to make money, 
for that is the object of business. Failing in that, his 
failure is absolute. 

But there is another side. In the first place, the 
pre-eminence of business is a great clip that holds 
this unwieldy country together. An active man of 
business will have interests in every quarter of the 
States. These interests compel him to know every 
part of tlie country, its economic conditions, the 
liabits, pursuits, and character of its inliabitants. 
But for this bond I verily believe the Union would 
go to pieces in a twelvemonth. But contact witli ;ill 
parts of the country brings understanding, rubs the 
edge off prejudice, promotes a candid consideration 
of the position of others. Prejudiced ni- uninformed 



272 BUSINESS. 

the American may sometimes be ; wantonly unjust — 
I say it deliberately — never. Another good result, as 
I take it, of the deification of business is that it keeps 
democracy fresh and wholesome. Commerce is the 
most democratic of all pursuits. In the august pre- 
sence of the dollar all men are equal. It is not this 
man who graduated at Harvard against that man who 
herded swine ; it is this man's credit and capital as 
set down in ' Bradstreet ' — an amiable little work which 
gives the money value of every business man in the 
States, and computes the degree of trust that may be 
reposed in his signed paper — as against that other 
man's. 

But all this is hideously materialistic. No doubt : 
only what do you mean by materialistic ? In a sense^ 
which I will explain in a page or two, the Americans 
appear to me the most materialistic people in the 
world. But as for the love of money, I don't thii]k 
they are down with it any worse than any other 
people. I still think, as I said at the very beginning, 
that it is not the dollars they worship but the facul- 
ties that got them. The man who has made money 
in this country has attained what is the one aim of 
ninety-nine out of every hundred of his countrymen. 
He has had the ability to do what everybody is trying 
to do. Is it wonderful that he is respected ? It 
would be wonderful indeed if he were not. 

Cut off from the hard-won civilisation of the Old 
World, and left to struggle by themselves with the 



THE GREAT GAME. 273 

forest and the prairie, it was inevitable that the 
Americans should prize most highly those less highly- 
organised qualities of the mind which insured success 
in the struggle. The others may come with time. In 
the meanwhile there is this consolation for those who 
go down. Failure may be complete, but it is never 
irredeemable. In Europe a boy goes into a bank ; he 
may hate it, but in the bank he usually remains. In 
America lie will next appear in a newspaper office, 
then behind a draper's counter, then in Congress, then 
in bankruptcy, and then in a gold-mine. You never 
meet the man who has got a good place and don't 
mean to lose it. No place is good enough for the 
American's estimate of his own deserts — nor is the 
e.stimate inexcusable, for no possibility is beyond his 
legitimate aspiration. Nobody is ever done with. 
And this applies to the millionaire as well as to the 
starveling. A man of huge fortune is always break- 
ing out, like Mr Armour, into some new and unfamil- 
iar trade. I have met a gentleman who made a large 
fortune as an ironmaster. One day it occurred to him 
to Ijuy a newspaper. He did not know small pica 
from nonpareil, and by tlie time he was mastering the 
(liirerence his fortune had melted away, and he had a 
mortgage on the house his wife anil cluldren lived in. 
He went about his business with an unmoved face. 
Why not / This was his life. He was playing the 
great game for tlio pleasure of playing it; and he 
played it and won it like a man. 

S 



274 



XXX. 



WAITING. 



New York, November 2. 

I LANDED myself in New York just in time for the 
biggest political demonstration in the world's history. 
Exactly how many men turned out on Saturday to 
parade for M'Kinley and Gold it is hard to estimate. 
The Silver partisans admit that more than eighty 
thousand men marched in the great procession, while 
enthusiastic gold-bugs put the figure at nearly double. 
Probably a hundred to a hundred and ten thousand 
would about hit it. Anyhow, there were so many that 
it hardly matters to an odd ten thousand how many 
there were. It was the greatest assembly of organ- 
ised men this country has seen since the muster of 
Union veterans in Washington to disband after the 
close of the Civil War. It is estimated that there 
were more men tramping the streets of New York 
in Saturday's parade than there are voters in the 
States of Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada put together. 
There was every manner of man in the procession : 



MEN, MEN, MEN; FLAGS, FLAGS, FLAGS. 275 

inillionaires in shining silk hats, and working men 
in corduroy trousers. The men in one line alone 
were appraised by expert valuers at thirty million 
dollars. The head of the procession reached the re- 
viewing stand in Madison Square at a quarter to 
eleven in the morning; the tail did not arrive until 
half-past six in the evening. Looking from the win- 
dow of the 'Daily Mail' office, Fifth Avenue was 
dark for miles with the steadily rolling lines of par- 
aders. Nobody ever saw so many American flags 
in one day. Every man shouldered this weapon, and 
the blending of the red, white, and blue made a violet 
embroidery over the black masses. 

As a pageant it was far inferior to the parade I 
saw in Chicago the other day. There were no gor- 
geous floats in yesterday's procession, a huge gold- 
bug on wheels being the nearest approach to that 
sort of embellishment. There were few horsemen, 
and little safiron or cloth-of-gold. But there were 
more men. It was hopeless to try and watch it. 
You looked at a mile or two of it, went away, came 
back, and there were miles on miles still filing past. 
Always the same men, carrying the same flags. Yet 
hundreds of thousands of people stood gazing at the 
monotonous marching all day. Tens of thousands 
of men fell in line under the blazing sun after an 
early breakfast, and did not disband till the cold 
stars were out. Why ? Because this solemn pro- 
fession of allegiance was a sacrament of political 



276 WAITING. 

faith, and it would have been almost impious to 
get ill and go home. As the day wore on the 
multitude only became the more enthusiastic. The 
parade, which in the morning was loosely coupled 
and almost apathetic, wound up at night with salvoes 
of cheers and the enthusiastic singing of patriotic 
songs. The whole thing was prodigious, crushing, 
final. 

After the parade had disbanded thousands lingered 
round the scene of it. They had made the supreme 
effort of the campaign, and had nothing left to do. 
Many turned to needed but injudicious refreshment. 
At dead of night, when rival Bryan and M'Kinley 
meetings were held in Madison Square, the opposing 
crowds exchanged first arguments, then fierce volleys 
of cheers ; presently the cheers became insults, and 
then the insults became assaults. The first faction- 
fight of the campaign in New York was promisingly 
under way when the police arrived. The New York 
police may have political sympathies, but duty, and 
the pleasure of knocking citizens about, transcend all 
minor emotions. The embattled hosts walked hastily 
and ingloriously away before the truncheons. Each 
party accuses the other of provocation, but the real 
instigator of the riot was whisky on an empty stomach. 
Sunday morning found the streets still strewn with 
fragments of the great parade. Early-retiring citizens 
awakened in the middle of the night with a start to 
find the last echoes of belated cheers breaking round 



WALL STREETS STOCKING. 277 

their pillows. It must have been nearly daylight 
before the police finally swept up the scraps, and then 
New York enjoyed such quiet as it ever gets. 

Yet even on Saturday night hundreds gathered 
quietly in the hotels of the city, not discussing, not 
drinking — doing nothing but simply waiting the 
result. New York is holding its breath ready to 
break out in huzzas or lamentations, according as the 
dice may fall. Never was so huge a mass of people 
so completely centred in one thing. In Wall Street 
there is no panic, but utter stagnation. The modern 
machinery of credit has ceased work, and business 
is set back centuries to the primitive conditions of 
hoard and barter. Nobody carries stock on credit, 
nobody buys, nobody lends. A man came in 
desperately to a leading lawyer the other day in 
deathly want of cash. He had two hundred thou- 
sand dollars' worth of Government bonds, but nobody 
would lend him a cent on them, A Jewish banker 
put the case well when he said: "Wall Street can 
take care of itself with a gold standard, and it can 
take care of itself with a silver standard. But the 
devil of it is getting from one to the other. You can 
sail a boat above Niagara, and below Niagara ; but 
try to sail down Niagara, and where are you ? " So 
the Wall Street broker to-day is hoarding his hidden 
gold in a stocking like a French peasant. 

To flat Sunday has succeeded interminable Monday. 
Even to me the suspense, the idleness, has been un- 



278 WAITING. 

bearable. I could not sit still. I wandered vaguely 
about the street looking for something interesting 
and not finding it. And if it took the unprejudiced 
spectator in this way, what about the millions of 
actors in the momentous drama? For them the 
suspense is little less than an agony. Their work 
is over, yet somehow they have had to put in 
twenty - four hours without seeing the fruit of it. 
It is like the breathless interval between the firing 
of a cannon and the hearing of the report, when every 
second seems a year. Or you may say New York is 
like a besieged city, hanging, heart in mouth, upon 
tidings that may mean salvation and may mean ruin. 
It is done now, and there is nothing to do but wait. 
Yet upon men's minds there presses a sickening 
suspicion that they may have been forgotten — some 
effort left unmade which it is now too late to make. 
New York is pretending to go about its business — 
more for the sake of giving itself an occupation than 
in the expectation that the pretence will impose upon 
anybody. The clamorous city roars according to its 
wont, but the roar rings hollow somehow. Through 
it all you can hear New York's heart beat. 

Having nothing else to talk about, people are still 
living on Saturday's parade. " You'd have wanted 
ten thousand police and soldiers to keep that crowd 
in order in London," I heard a fat man say. It is 
strange that the travelled American seldom seems to 
bring back the same high estimate of the orderly 



THE AFTEIIMATII OF THE PAItADE, 279 

behaviour of our crowds and the moderation of our 
police which we congratulate ourselves upon. For 
myself, I admit the good behaviour of the American 
crowd freely, but I also stoutly maintain that of ours. 
As to police, though the New York Irishman may 
not be quite so bad as he is sometimes painted, and 
especially behaves very well to women, I will back 
ours for courtesy and self-control any day of the 
week. But what, am I about to begin talking other 
things than politics on this day ? We are not here 
to consider Saturday's crowd as a work of art, but 
as a M'Kinley vote -machine. Most people say it 
settled the matter. Of course it didn't : how could 
it ? What bearing had the fact that a hundred 
thousand men paraded New York to do with the 
rural vote of Indiana ? And the last is a vital 
factor ; the Eepublicanism of New York has been 
discounted long ago. All the same, you see here the 
psychological effect of the great demonstration. If 
it has done nothing else, it has given men confidence, 
and persuaded the waverer that by voting for M'Kin- 
ley he will put himself on the winning side. 

Musing thus, I thought I would go across Broadway 
to my old acquaintance, Mr St John, at the Demo- 
cratic headquarters, and see what he had got to say. 
There is no great profit in visits to headquarters, for 
they will only tell you what they think good for you, 
and what they think good for you you can read in 
every newspaper. But I found Mr St John genuinely 



280 WAITING. 

and incurably optimistic. Not a doubt of Mr Bryan's 
election ! Illinois in particular quite certain ! In the 
latest table given out by Senator Jones, the Demo- 
cratic chairman, at Chicago, Illinois was classed as 
doubtful. Now as no chairman's estimate was ever 
known to err on the side of moderation, this means 
that Illinois is given up as lost. But Mr St John 
would not hear of it. " We shall carry Illinois," he 
cried, cheerfully. " Shall you carry New York ? " I 
asked, not without irony. " Yes," he began — " but 
no ; I won't say that. But I do say we shall 
astonish a great many people. I'm not going on 
figures; I don't care a hang about figures. What I 
go by is this. This is a great popular moment, and 
the most experienced canvasser can't estimate or 
measure its impetus. Why, take the case of Henry 
George when he ran for Mayor in 1886. On paper 
he hadn't got a chance, but he very nearly got in. 
Eemember that George is working on our side in 
this election. Why, I heard something the other day 
about a bank here. Its president is a great M'Kinley 
man — makes speeches and all the rest of it. Now, 
the fifty clerks in that bank probably all marched in 
the parade on Saturday. But I know that out of the 
fifty only eight mean to vote for M'Kinley." 

Undeniably there is something in Mr St John's 
point of view. That is not a mere fancy of my own ; 
it is proved by the attitude of many of the hottest 
believers in M'Kinley's chance. If ever there was a 



MR Bryan's campaign. 281 

certainty on the book, this election is a certainty for 
M'Kinley. But yet any element of the incalculable 
and unexpected must make in favour of Bryan. The 
influential men who have gained support for the gold 
candidate are not quite so sure of their influence after 
all. The votes are promised all right, and totted up 
in the Ptcpublican forecasts. But I have met more 
than one Eepublican who has frankly owned that he 
will feel more comfortable when the votes have been 
given and counted. Nobody can see how it is pos- 
sible for Mr Bryan to win, and yet nobody would be 
surprised if he did. 

No doubt a good deal of this is due to the extra- 
ordinary personal campaign that Mr Bryan has made. 
Nobody quite knows what he is doing in the middle 
States — whether he is wasting his breath or turning 
votes by the thousand. In any case, he is fighting 
up to the last moment, and fighting this very day as 
resolutely and as vigorously as he fought on the day 
of his nomination. Win or lose, he has done his best, 
and perhaps made the finest campaign since election 
campaigns were invented. Every newspaper is full 
of the thousands of miles he has travelled, the hun- 
dreds of speeches he has made, the millions of electors 
who have heard the sound of his voice, and the billions 
of words that voice has uttered. Consider it merely 
as a feat of physical endurance, and this iron man 
must be pronounced one of the phenomena of the 
nineteenth century. Through it all he has not lost 



282 WAITING. 

one meal or one night's sleep.^ T>nt it has wanted 
courage as well as strength. He has seen the en- 
thusiasm of his first day's candidature fade away into 
the M'Kinley reaction. He must know he has been 
struggling to stem a torrent instead of floating on it 
— and that to the demagogic temperament is no light 
trial. And he has been struggling alone. Not one 
Democrat of high reputation has come forward on 
his side. His Altgelds and his Tillmans are notori- 
ous, indeed, but their notoriety has done him more 
harm than good. His loneliness is the blackest omen 
against him, since, if astute men of the Hill stamp 
thought he were going to win, they would be found 
at his side to share the spoil. He has fought the 
battle alone, and lie has fought it with an elastic 
toughness, an unshaken courage, an unflagging fer- 
vour, that lifts him to the highest rank of popular 
leaders alongside of Gladstone and Gambetta. 

With Monday's dusk New York has awakened from 
its two days' torpor. As darkness cleared the traffic 
from the streets you might see here or there a 
dense knot of men gathered at a corner. You would 
have said a fight or a fit. Hurrying, up you found 
nothing but two champions discussing the currency 
in semi -public. The listeners now applauded, now 
mocked, but not one would tear himself away. The 
hall of the Hoffman House, where by good luck rather 

^ On the clay after his defeat he ate a beef-steak and foui" eggs for 
breakfast. That is wliat I call a man. 



AT THE HOFFMAN HOUSE. 283 

than judgment I put up, presented a mixture of 
Tattersall's King on a Derby Day and the lobby of 
the House of Commons on the fall of a Ministry. 
There were in the jostling crowd bookmakers, par- 
sons, financiers, and clerks, men with white ties and 
men with no collars. You could not move, much 
less hear yourself speak, and by reason of the press 
they had ceased to serve cocktails at the bar. In 
the centre of the crowd were groups of political 
plungers, and now and again above the general 
tumult you heard their raucous voices calling the 
latest odds on M'Kinley. Yet there was very little 
betting. The contest was considered all one way, 
and though no end of information could be found 
that whole streets full of working men had resolved 
to vote for Bryan, the Eepublicans had established 
a funk. So the betting languished, and interest in 
offered odds palled, till the crowd fell back on 
the exhausting but unexhausted currency discussion. 
Several Free Silver meetings disengaged themselves. 
The Gold men responded to their vociferous argu- 
ments with an occasional jeer, but mostly contented 
themselves with the unanswerable repartee of putting 
up money to bet. The mass thinned out towards 
midnight, but again the crowds gathered outside and 
rang the chimes of the small hours with peals of 
cheers rolling down the echoing streets. 
To-morrow ! 



284 



XXXI. 



THE DAY. 



New York, November 4. 

The belated demonstrators were hardly silent when 
the day of destiny dawned. And almost before it 
had actually dawned the day's work had begun. The 
polls open at six o'clock in New York, and even by 
that hour millionaire and beggar had lined up in front 
of the polling-booths as if they were the pit-door of 
a theatre. The strain of the last few days had be- 
come no longer bearable. Nobody could lie abed 
when the moment for action had at last come. Un- 
breakfasted, unwashed, unclothed, all hastened to get 
the momentous vote off their chests. The clustering 
figures in the half-daylight, muliled in overcoats, re- 
called an Oxford undergraduates' eight o'clock roll- 
call. 

It must be explained that Americans do not vote, 
like us, in a public building. During the last few 
days broad, dark-green wooden sheds have squatted 
on the streets all over the city. In these tabernacles 



A DESERTED CITY. 285 

they take the sacrament of citizenship. In the poorer 
quarters, where the streets are narrower, shops are 
consecrated to the solemn rite. Usually cigar-stores 
are chosen — sometimes, with genial irony for the de- 
feated candidate, an undertaker's. 

By the time the city ordinarily wakes up nearly 
half the votes had been cast. Already New York, its 
duty done, had settled itself down to enjoy a holiday 
under the clear sunlight of an Indian summer's day. 
The polling - places were soon deserted, but for a 
little knot of party watchers, tallymen all decked out 
with ribbons like prize shorthorns, and the police. 
Earely a candidate or some high party official bustled 
up on a tour of inspection ; then the oracle of the 
voice of the people sank back into dumbness again. 
The party headquarters were no longer crowded as in 
past days. Only a few devotees were there, keeping 
lists and receiving reports from the polling -places. 
Tammany Hall itself was half empty, and almost 
silent. Wall Street and the other business quarters 
were ablaze with the national colours, but there were 
no business men. The Broadway shops and restaurants 
were all decked out in bunting, but all were closed. 
Fifth Avenue was as depopulated as in the middle of 
August. The mean streets of the East Side were filled 
with unshaven men, slatternly women, and barefooted 
children. But tliis as.semblage was merely because 
here the street takes the place of the country and the 
seaside. Only at rare street corners stood three or 



286 THE DAY. 

four men, with puckered faces, wondering why Mike 
OTlaherty had not voted yet. Meanwhile crowds of 
people were streaming to the ferries and the railway 
stations, seeking the country. The streets gradually 
filled with citizens' wives and children, all in their 
Sunday clothes. It was a Sabbath without any Sab- 
batarianism. You would say the city was quietly 
enjoying victory instead of being in the midst of 
battle. 

But this is a day of vast activity for the street 
Arabs of New York. It is their day of days in the 
four long years. From early dawn they began to 
collect every available sort of material for bonfires. 
Their Guy Fawkes' day is a movable feast, dependent 
on the day of election. All day long they steal 
barrels, and planks, and straw, and boxes, under the 
very noses of the tolerant proprietors. Impatient en- 
thusiasts had little fires crackling, in full sunlight and 
in the middle of the street, as early as nine o'clock. 
For the rest, the only signs of public excitement were 
the dense black masses of people fringing the pave- 
ment opposite all the newspaper offices — awaiting tid- 
ings not yet due for six hours. Altogether it was a 
day of waiting, but of waiting that was endurable 
compared with yesterday's. To-day each man had 
done all that in him lay, and he could await the result 
with clean-conscienced resignation. 

But the polling was hardly over when the supreme 
day became merged in a supreme night. It was a day 



THE DIGNITY OF DEMOCKACY, 287 

for work, which had been done in perfect order, and 
with a calmness and a dignity that fitted the moment- 
ous occasion. Mr Eoosevelt, New York's Chief Com- 
missioner of Police, told me that this was the most 
peacefully conducted election in American history. 
Hardly an arrest was made all day. The very Italian 
roadmakers and the Yiddish hucksters put on charac- 
ter for one day, and carried themselves as citizens 
worthy of their citizenship. 

But the night was given to a gluttony of sensation, 
after the suspense between triumph and despair in the 
last hour. Before the polls closed, at five o'clock. New 
York had settled down to an emotional debauch. The 
city was drained dry of voters early in the day, and 
the closest polling organisation hardly squeezed out a 
single elector in that last hour. Now to see if the 
great struggle of six months should issue in a burst of 
prosperity or in collapse and ruin ! 

Hours before any news was possible great crowds 
had massed in the City Hall Park and in Printing 
House Square. Here are most of the great news- 
paper offices, packed together even closer than in 
London. One big building is shared by both Silver 
and Gold newspapers. Caricatures, separated only by 
a window, showed any given statesman as the saviour 
of his country or as an embezzler of public funds, 
according to the taste of the exhibitor and the observer. 
The stereopticon bulletin shows being so close to- 
gether, they could be depended on for an entertaining 



288 THE DAY. 

rivalry of picturesque sensation, which New York 
resolved to enjoy to the full. The towering face of 
the 'World' building was masked by an enormous 
screen, and half-a-dozen other newspaper buildings 
were almost as generously furnished with raw material 
for the cartoons and bulletins that should move to 
laughter or to tears. One could hardly move there 
by five o'clock; by six, when the first meagre results 
began to come in, the crush was almost terrifying in 
its unmeasurable and ungovernable force. 

Meanwhile, inside the newspaper offices the most 
important work in four years was progressing fever- 
ishly. Only highly authenticated visitors were per- 
mitted inside to-night. To realise the work before the 
newspaper you must remember tliat thirteen millions 
of votes were coming in from points three thousand 
miles apart, some of them three hours in time behind 
the others. On the basis of whatever flimsy indica- 
tions arrived before press-time the paper must cal- 
culate a result for the whole country, whose accuracy 
might make or mar. The biggest room in each office 
was laid out with trestle-tables, whereat sat men adding, 
subtracting, and multiplying. Each man had in his 
head, or at least on paper at his side, the vote of 1892 
in every county and precinct, in order to estimate from 
the early returns of the smallest village the probable 
trend and force of the stream sweeping over the whole 
country. The opinion of thousands of counties had 
thus to be dealt with, and the complexity and magni- 



IN CITY HALL PAEK. 289 

tude of the task strained every rivet in the newspaper 
organisation. The scene inside the office was a com- 
bination of mad confusion and perfect harmony. A 
little army of boys were flying with telegraphic results 
to the calculators, and flying back with each result 
reduced to its projDcr place in the general scheme. 
The calculators mopped their brows without speaking, 
and calculated fiercely. 

The anxious crowd outside surged denser and more 
terrible in its ungovernable weight. Thousands stood 
craning their necks to the walls of the huge buildings 
before them, faintly outlined against the deep sky. 
Search -lights spun round the horizon, lighting up 
signal-kites floating aloft. On the screens appeared 
scenes shown by the cinematographe, which were 
received with alternate delight and derision. When 
the first returns were shown the crowd lost mastery 
of itself. The City Hall Park is cut up by public 
buildings, with parallelograms and triangles of grass. 
The crowd broke against the wire fences, swept them 
down, and surged over the sacred enclosures. It 
could not help it. The laws of space and force were 
the only things that had not taken a night off for the 
election. 

From the first moment of the arrival of returns, 
the direction of the stream was clearly apparent. 
New York City, where never before had a majority 
been given for a Eepublican President, was going 
steadily and surely for Mr M'Kinley. One hundred 

T 



290 THE DAY. 

districts, two hundred districts, three hundred dis- 
tricts, were heard from, and Mr M'Kinley forged 
steadily ahead, till his majority in the city was certain 
to be at least 20,000. Then the serried masses began 
to open their lungs, and fierce yells and whoops and 
cheers crashed from side to side of the great square. 

Passing north-eastward through the city was like 
passing from a mill-race to a mill-pool. The poverty- 
stricken streets, where three hours before one could 
hardly move for the crowds of dirty aliens lounging 
away the holiday on the pavement, were now silent 
and dark, save where the chartered sons of the gutter 
danced and whooped around the bonfires. Early 
in the day these had been made from purloined boxes 
and barrels ; now they were being fed with straw 
mattresses and cheap furniture. But the adults, 
the Italians, Poles, and miscellaneous Yiddishers, 
were still under the spell of their brief dignity of 
citizenship. 

At the main police office was an election bureau 
for receiving the first official counts of the city voting. 
The bare flagstones of the stairs rang with the hasty 
heels of journalists scurrying up and down with 
despatches. In the court-room was assembled a job 
lot of curious listeners, and from time to time the 
officials enthroned on the bench hastily snatched 
papers from hurrying messengers and read aloud a 
bulletin putting a fresh nail in the coffin of Bryanism. 
The listening loafers chaffed the police and indulged 



"THAT SETTLES IT." 291 

in good-natured horseplay, while the constables laid 
aside their official majesty and worked away indus- 
triously with paper, pencil, and figures like ordinary 
commoners. In Commissioner Eoosevelt's room was 
a tape telegraph-machine, ticking away feverishly. 

Now began the announcements of voting in the 
country outside of New York. Chicago came along, 
swinging heavily to M'Kinley. Then came Kentucky, 
and like portents, in crushing sequence, from East 
and West and South. " That settles it," snapped out 
a hard sharp voice, at the announcement of the 
certain defeat of Governor Altgeld in Illinois, and 
smiles wreathed the hard bitter face of an old in- 
spector standing beside the instrument. Word quickly 
ran along the sentinels in the corridors and on the 
stairs of the downfall of the enemy of the law. The 
telegraph clicked more breatlilessly, the official roared 
out the results more lustily, the journalists scurried 
about more wildly as the returns from everywhere 
came tumbling over each other, all pointing the same 
way. 

Thence I went up deserted Broadway to Madison 
Square. Here a dense crowd was packed across the 
thoroughfare before the bulletin-boards of the up-town 
newspaper offices. Here doubt was dispelled in a 
frenzy of triumph. Many of the announcements were 
premature and incorrect, but enough was quickly 
known to send the watchers mad, and tho air was 
torn with cheers. But loud above the cheers and the 



292 THE DAY. 

crackle of laughter that swept the crowds when the 
stereoptician joked, above the grmdhig of the cable- 
cars elbowing their way and banging their gongs, 
arose the deafening blast of tin horns, which were 
sold by hundreds in the crowd. At each new triumph 
of Eepublicanism the ear-splitting bray of these tin 
trumpets boomed out. This was the form which the 
voice of the people chose to manifest its exultation. 
White men and black men, sober men and hilarious 
men, young men, staid middle-age and grey-beards, 
matrons and maidens, all were gravely tootling these 
babies' tin trumpets. Everybody was too exultant to 
care whether he behaved like an infant or not. There 
was no escape from the infernal din. 

At the Eepublican headquarters I found the worn, 
pale, sleepless heroes of the fight summoning their last 
energies to revel without affectation of self-control in 
the brilliancy of their victory. Here, again, of course, 
were the newspaper-men, gathering the threads of 
information despatched to headquarters, and weaving 
them together into the complete tale of triumph. But 
hardly anybody was now concerned to add and com- 
pare returns. White-bearded, frock-coated men were 
rushing about shaking hands with everybody in 
sight. The rooms echoed with the ripple of light- 
hearted girls' laughter. A little army of waiters was 
perspiringly trying to keep pace with the unquench- 
able demand for champagne. Distracted with delight, 
the solid pillars of Sound Money could only laugh 



FKENZY. 293 

and babble, and hurry from the tape to the window 
and from the window back to the tape. Their joy 
would not allow them to keep still one second. 

At Democratic headquarters things were very differ- 
ent. Here was only lassitude after effort. There was 
no victory or champagne to fillip it into a flicker of 
animation. Everything and every one was most 
gloomily silent, with the exception of a few un- 
conquerable optimists, who were still vainly trying 
to demonstrate that maturer returns might retrieve all. 
Tammany Hall gave up the struggle early, and by 
eleven o'clock was black and voiceless. Jeering 
enemies encamped on its steps undisturbed and un- 
answered. 

Passing on to the University Club, I found every 
member present exulting and dancing like schoolboys, 
as a waiter read item after item of the colossal pile of 
victories. These fine gentlemen of New York cried for 
cheers for M'Kinley, hurled stentorian congratulations 
at entering friends, clasped each other round the waist 
by threes and fours, and waltzed round the room under 
the approving smiles of the head-waiters. 

My next task was to fight my way up to Herald 
Square. Here were two cinematographes at work, 
but by now tlic people hardly deigned to glance at 
them. Til is was the climax. No longer was the 
crowd made up of men and women, but of rejoicing 
machines. The wide square was one riot of de- 
lirium. The crowd spread itself over the tram rails, 



294 THE DAY. 

and almost sought to push back the crawling cable- 
cars which attempted to jostle them from an im- 
mediate view of the next undreamed-of success posted 
on the bulletins. Now rockets and Eoman candles 
were blazing on every side. Gunpowder flared, bands 
crashed, bugles rang ; overhead the late trains puffed 
and clattered, and above all rang volleys of cheers 
and the interminable discordant blare of tin trumpets, 
all blended in a furious jangle of jubihition. The 
whole place was mad, demoniac, inspired with a 
divine frenzy. 

But by now it was well past midnight. Eeports 
came rarely ; the lights began to go out ; gangs of 
young men with linked arms charged and split up 
the thinning crowd. The elevated trains and the 
cable-cars making for the northern suburbs looked as 
though human bees had swarmed over them. Every 
inch of floor and outside platform liad a foot clinging 
precariously to it. People were even hanging desper- 
ately from the brakes and couplings. So New York 
began to empty, the vast assemblage falling asleep 
with tlie reaction from an excitement that was almost 
too intense for life. And tlirough the crowd came 
pushing a man with matted hair crying the morning 
papers. 

The night of nights was justified of its supreme 
destiny. The expectation had been the tensest for a 
generation, but the realisation had risen to it and had 



THE DAWN. 295 

overwhelmed it. The last screams of jubilation grew 
fainter and more distant; gradually the glamour of 
the dream wore off, and the city paled to ordinary 
dawn and ordinary day. New York was her daily 
self again, with the most stirring night of her recent 
fate behind her. 



296 



XXXII. 



THE OUTLOOK. 



Ss. Augusta Victoria, November 7. 

Well, it is all over, and William M'Kiuley is to be 
the twenty-fifth President of the United States. What 
then ? What has been accomplished by the six months 
of stress and conflict ? What is to be the ultimate 
fate of free silver and free trade ? Has the incoming 
surge of anarchy been swept back for good, or is it 
retiring only to thunder in again with tenfold violence 
on some future day, to engulf industry and order, pro- 
tection and free trade, labour and capital together ? 

Almost the last words of Mr Bryan before the 
declaration of the polls were to the effect that if he 
were beaten this time he was ready to begin work at 
once on the campaign of 1900. He has been beaten, 
and, being a man of indomitable energy and un- 
quenchable faith, news comes that he is all ready to 
fulfil his word. But the most indomitable general 
cannot fight battles without soldiers, nor yet with 
mutinous soldiers. The doctrine of free coinage lay 



now THE FIGHT WAS LOST. 297 

never really at the heart of the rank and file of Demo- 
crats. In the Piocky Mountains every man, Demo- 
crat or Republican, was white-hot for it, because it 
meant more mines working, more miners wanted to 
work them, and more money to be spent generally. 
The western farmer was for free coinage because he 
iliought it oilered a hope of better prices, and no other 
hope was on his horizon. The South was for free 
silver, partly for the same reason and partly because 
the North was against it. 

But the Democrats of the North and East and 
central States cared no more for free silver than the 
rank and file of English Radicals in 1886 cared for 
Home Rule. They voted for it partly because it was 
the regular and official programme of their party, and 
partly because, since the partial free trade of the 
Wilson tariff had not brought prosperity, there was 
nothing else handy to vote for. And partly they did 
not vote for it at all. It is in these districts, East of 
the Mississippi and North of Mason and Dixon's line, 
that the loss of Democratic votes lost the fiuht for 
Mr Rryan ; it is here that he must seek to win them 
back if the defeat of 1800 is to lead up to the victory 
(jf I'JOO. The National Democrats, the schismatics 
who supported the gold standard, hoped tliat a smash- 
ing defeat this year would throw the party back into 
their arms. They talked of holding a convention in 
Chicago within sixty days of the election to reorganise 
the party on a gold basis. Two days after the election 



298 THE OUTLOOK. 

proposals were actually on foot for some such re- 
organisation in the State of New York, to include all 
the old leaders, like Mr Cleveland's personal following. 
Senator Hill, and others who have stood out of this 
campaign. But such reconciliations, easy enough to 
project, are exceedingly hard to bring to realisation. 
The beaten majority will never come, cap in hand, to 
the minority who have purchased victory by deserting 
to the enemy. It was found impracticable in Eng- 
land, and it is very questionable if any number of 
round-table conferences will bring it about in the 
United States. 

The Free Silver Democrats are rancorously bitter 
against the Gold Democrats, and the petty vote 
realised by the latter at the polls is hardly worth 
eating humble-pie for. If the National Democrats 
could make it clear to the others that reunion would 
afford a really promising chance of victory in 1900, 
with attendant spoils, there might be something to 
say. But it is not easy to see how this is to be 
done. 

Failing this chance, there is the free silver agitation 
to go on with. If Mr Bryan is to lead the next cam- 
paign, his obstinate fanaticism on the subject of silver 
will rule out any other question as the main issue. 
Supposing that in 1900 the country is in a state of 
commercial depression, anything like the depression 
of this year, that campaign would stand an admirable 
chance of success. All over the country people will 



PROTECTION? 299 

have come to tliiuk there might have been something 
in free silver after aU. That is what some of the 
most level-headed Westerners are counting on. But 
unless the North and East are depressed in 1900, 
then it is liard to see what other device can be used 
to make free coinage attractive in those regions. At 
present, being blamed for this year's disaster, it is a 
great deal less popular than ever. 

At any rate, the Democratic party, beaten, divided, 
leaderless, split with mutual recriminations, jealousies, 
and distrusts, is done with for the four years of Mr 
M'Kinley's term. It may form up again in face of tlie 
enemy, as it has often done before. It will hardly 
do so sooner, for we need not take the projected con- 
vention at Denver too seriously. What use will Mr 
M'Kinley make of the field left clear to him ? His 
own political vision has room but for a single idea — 
Protection. No doubt there will be influences to 
make against any extreme revision of the tarifi". Tlie 
Gold Democrats will urge — indeed, they began it the 
day after the election — that Mr JM'Kinley is the elect, 
not of a party, but of the best elements of the whole 
nation. They will urge that they were the main 
agency of his victory, and charge him with black 
ingratitude if he countenances any advance in protec- 
tive dues beyond what is at present urgently needed 
to balance revenue and expenditure. 

Another influence against Protection will be the 
Senate. It is true that the Senate of 1897 will have, 



300 THE OUTLOOK. 

on paper, a Republican majority of half-a-dozen or 
so. But this includes the Senators from the silver 
States — Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and Montana. 
Nominally Eepublican, these men, many of them the 
paid attorneys of mining companies, are silver men 
first, second, and always. It is true that they have 
voted for Protection before, but then they were bar- 
tering their voices against Eepublican encouragement 
for bimetallism. That game is up now ; he who is not 
for silver is against it. It remains to be seen whether 
the Protectionism of these gentlemen will be as ready 
to the empty hand as it was when the hand paid cash, 
or at least promissory notes, for goods delivered. 

But the coming President, by patronage and diplo- 
matic arts, hopes to evade this obstacle. Even if he 
fails — and the silver corporations are not children to 
be cajoled with lollipops — it is only a case of wait- 
ing a year or two. With a handsome Eepublican 
majority in most of the State legislatures, the satis- 
factory leavening of the Senate with Protection needs 
only time. As for the Gold Democrats, Mr M'Kinley 
may owe them much, but he owes the industrial mag- 
nates of his own party a great deal more. Theirs will 
be ever the most potent voice in his ear, and it will 
be ever suggestive of Protection. Mr Hanna alone, as 
the personal payment of his cool and unerring conduct 
of the campaign, might fairly claim a duty ou coal. 
But besides Mr Hanna there are hundreds of wealthy 
individuals and corporations that have almost the 



LOOKING FOiaVARD. 301 

right — at any rate in the American code of political 
ethics — to demand a protective policy in return for 
what they have done to secure this election. A cam- 
paign of education, even though it never outstep the 
bounds of the most legitimate influences, demands 
vast resources to buy speakers, literature, special 
trains, and the like. Without the funds supplied 
by these men and bodies, the campaign just over 
could never have been fought. Their dollars won it. 
They paid the piper; they will call the tune. 

If we wish to look beyond 1900 down the vista of 
the twentieth century, there is doubtless light to be 
derived from the election of 1896. Doubtless there 
is more light than has been thrown by any of the 
more recent elections, for at least two of the questions 
that are likely to exert a controlling influence on the 
remote fortunes of the United States have this year 
been seen in germ. These two dangers — for dangers 
they are, and some day may be very grave ones — 
arise respectively out of the opposition of distinct 
localities and of distinct classes. 

Many people have said that the United States 
are too large to exist permanently as one nation. 
Probably it would be at least as true a statement 
of the situation to say that their commercial interests 
are too diverse, and that the whole nation is too 
intently concentrated on the commercial to the ex- 
clusion of other influences which might keep the 
country together. No doubt distance has a good deal 



302 THE orTi.nnK. 

to do witli it. Distance does not necessarily beget 
antagonism, but it deadens understanding and sym- 
pathy. Hence there grows up a feeling between 
localities — let us say the big cities of the East and 
the mining camps of the Eocky Mountains — analogous 
to the feeling that the United States entertain to- 
wards ourselves. It is not hostility, but it is a kind 
of latent ill-will, sedulously fostered, which is tiie 
raw material of hostility. There is no apparent 
reason for ii, unless it be jealousy and a kind of 
half-voiced resentment of the fact that people who 
are so alike in most points, and ought to be so near, 
are unlike in some points, and dwell so far apart. 

Besides this vague dislike which comes of distance, 
the somewhat emulous and self-conscious character of 
the American fosters jealousies between States and 
cities which sometimes become almost hatreds. Each 
city sub-consciously selects the rival nearest it in size 
and streniith to vie with it and to detest it. A man 
from New York and a man from Chicago, a man from 
San Francisco and a man from St Louis, can liardly 
meet without squabbling over the respective lordliness 
of their homes. St Paul and Minneapolis, living on 
exactly opposite sides of the Mississippi, are said to be 
the bitterest rivals of all. This rivalry has its stimu- 
lating side, and the stimulus is very beneficent. ]>ut 
behind it there remains the fact that the West and 
South, broadly speaking, produce raw material, while 
the North-East manufactures and exchanges it. As 



A PHANTOM OF DANGER. 303 

long as business is good this fact does no harm. 
Indeed, as I have said, the business relations between 
buyer and seller, reseller and buyer-back-again, are a 
powerful clamp to keep JJifi country together. It is 
when the commercial interests of the two tracts clash, 
or appear to clash, that danger is in the air. This 
year for the first time the two sides stood embattled 
on a direct commercial issue. The rise in wheat and 
the general pick-me-up dealt round to all business by 
Mr M'Kinley's victory have somewhat smoothed the 
defeat for West and South. Should there come a day 
when the gain of the one part of the country means 
the dead unrelieved loss of the other, that day the 
United States will be on the edge of very deep peril. 

But for myself I do not see how this day is to 
come. In the United States themselves men have 
mocked at the prediction throughout, and the event, 
this time at any rate, has proved them right. In 
truth there is no solid West, and no prospect of it. 
To suppose that the West is seriously banded against 
the East on the silver question or any other is a com- 
plete delusion. The election returns dispel it in a 
moment. Mr Bryan carried most of the States West 
of the Mississippi, it is true. But he did not carry 
Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, California, or Ore- 
gon. In South Dakota, his own Nebraska, Kansas, 
Wyoming, and Washington, his majorities were small. 
Now, a country so evenly divided can never enter 
with effect upon a civil war. Furthermore, the com- 



304 THE OUTLOOK. 

mercial relations between the two halves of the 
country, the East supplying manufactures, the West 
food-stuffs, forbid any such internecine madness. If 
there was no hint of a fight this time, when the 
monetary interests of the two seemed diametrically 
opposed, there is not likely to be next time, nor any 
time in the immediate future. 

There remain the forces of anarchy. Ever since 
the bomb-throwing in Chicago seven or eight years 
ago, the United States, like Continental nations, have 
rather lost their heads on the subject of Anarchism. 
They see Anarchists behind every bush. For instance, 
Mr Altgeld is labelled Anarchist because, as Governor 
of Illinois, he pardoned certain not especially heinous 
Anarchists who had already spent several of the best 
years of their lives in Joliet jail. You miglit as well 
call Sir Matthew White Eidley dynamiter because he 
let out Dr Gallagher. It is probably true that what 
were called the anarchistic features of the Chicago 
platform — the attacks on Federal intervention in 
State affairs and upon the Supreme Court — were due 
to the personal spite of Governor Altgeld, who had 
come into collision with the central Government 
more than once. But people should have seen that 
this fact made them less, and not more, portentous ; 
they were in their origin petty and ridiculous, and 
in effect they did the Chicago platform infinitely more 
harm than good. 

They were meant to reinforce the lukewarm silver 



AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM. 305 

sentiment in the working man of the East. They 
signally failed. The party of hunger needs to be 
offered stronger food than vagiie'constitiitional changes, 
which hold out no prospect of bread-and-butter to 
anybody. Yet on the side of labour, as against capi- 
tal, the Eastern working man is certainly open to 
incitement. Some other time the form of appeal 
against capital may be better chosen, and will not 
fail. Americans have complained that this is the 
first election in which class has been arrayed against 
class; it will assuredly not be the last. Open war- 
fare between capital and labour will be earlier and 
bitterer in the United States than in Europe, for the 
sufficient reason that legal organisation of industry 
has been left wholly wanting. Little is done by the 
State; all is left to the initiative of the individual. 
The owner of a plot of ground in New York or 
Chicago can put up a building of twenty storeys, if 
he has the mind and the capital, without troubling 
himself either about his neighbours' ancient li£[hts or 
the width of the street. The apparent negligence is 
explained partly by the Americans' horror of retard- 
ing mechanical progress, and partly by their reliance 
on competition. They have cast overboard the law 
as the safeguard of individual right, and put them- 
selves under the protection of competition, and of it 
alone. Now, a trust, in its exacter acceptation, is 
the flat negation of competition. It is a combination 
of all the producers of a necessary article to regulate 

U 



306 THE OUTLOOK. 

its price to their own profit and the loss of the public. 
And there are far more unlikely things than that the 
battle-cry of the next election will be, Death to the 
trusts ! 

Newspapers may exaggerate the extent to which 
trusts are able to control the prices of the necessities 
of life. Absolute control of supply is probably rare ; 
coalitions among leading producers strong enough to 
set the tune to the market are as probably very com- 
mon. Be that so or not, it is certain that commercial 
concerns make frequent, powerful, and successful com- 
binations to override the public interest. One of the 
most odious forms of this is a combination among 
great employers of labour — railway companies and 
the like — to keep a mutual black list. If a working 
man offends one of them, in time of strike or other- 
wise, he will get no employment from any. Men 
have changed their names and disguised themselves in 
vain to escape this omniscient and merciless boycott. 
But all such corporations are left unfettered in a way 
that to an Englishman appears almost a return to 
savagery. The defencelessuess of individual liberty 
against the encroachments of railway companies, tram- 
way companies, nuisance - committing manure com- 
panies, and the like, is little less than horrible. You 
are as much at their mercy as in Germany you are at 
the mercy of the Government. Where regulating 
Acts are proposed, the companies unite to oppose 
them ; where such Acts exist, they bribe corrupt offi- 



THE VIOLENCE OF LABOUR. 307 

cials to ignore them. When they want any Act for 
themselves, it can always be bought for cash. They 
maintain their own members in legislative bodies — 
pocket assemblymen, pocket representatives, pocket 
senators. In the name of individual freedom and in- 
dustrial progress they are become the tyrants of the 
whole community. 

On the other hand, labour, though most enviably 
well off, judged by any European standard, is becom- 
ing increasingly discontented and violent. It is be- 
coming rare now to find a strike in which gunpowder 
and dynamite are not the ultimate appeal. Lawless 
greed on the one side and lawless brutality on the 
other — the outlook frowns. On the wisdom of the 
rulers of the country in salving or embittering these 
antagonisms — still more, on the fortune of the people 
in either modifying or hardening their present convic- 
tion that to get dollars is the one end of life — it de- 
pends whether the future of the United States is to be 
of eminent beneficence or unspeakable disaster. It 
may stretch out the light of liberty to the whole 
world. It may become the Devil's drill-ground, wlicrc 
the cohorts of anarchy will furbish themselves against 
the social Armageddon. It rests witli themselves. 



308 



XXX TTT. 



THE AMERICAN. 



London, November 12. 

The proudest moinciit uf my liftcen Ihousand miles of 
wandering came upon me in a bank in Chicago. As 
I was waiting tliere the policeman on duty approached 
me stealthily, as one about to confide a secret of deep 
importance. 

"Are ye not an Englishman, sorr ?" he whispered. 

" Yes," I said. 

" I knew ut," he responded with enthusiasm. " 1 
knew ut the minute yc came through the dure. There 
is nothing like ut in the worrld." 

Ilowbeit, there is something very strangely like it, 
and at the same time most strangely unlike. That 
is the American. He does not look like an English- 
man, yet it is manifest at sight that he cannot be 
of any other known breed of man. He talks P^ng- 
lish — often as if he were trying to imitate Mr 
Eugene Stratton, often with a clarity of pronuncia- 
tion that put me again and again to shame. When 



A NEW TEMPERAMENT. 309 

I was dictating to a typewriter and she could not 
understand what I said, when at last she caught 
the word and repeated it, I wondered why I could 
not make a vowel sound with the same distinctness 
and purity. Yet that typewriter could not spell ; for 
the Americans, as I have hinted, are a nation of hut 
superficial education. 

But the essential difference which new environment 
has grafted into the English stock strikes deeper than 
appearance and language. If I am asked to give it 
a name, it is hard to find one. The American is a 
highly electric Anglo-Saxon. His temperament is of 
quicksilver. There is as much difference in vivacity 
and emotion between him and an Englishman as there 
is between an Englishman and an Italian. Yet curi- 
ously there is just as much dilference between him 
and the Italian. His emotion is not the least like 
that of the Southern European. For behind the flash 
of his passion there shines always the steady light of 
dry, hard, practical reason. Shrewd yet excitable, 
hot-hearted and cool-headed, he combines the north- 
ern and the southern temperaments, and yet is utterly 
distinct from either. He has developed into a new 
sort of Anglo-Saxon, a new national character, a new 
race. 

The keynote of this character is its irresistible im- 
pulse to impress all its sentiments externally by the 
crudest and most obvious medium. The Americans 
are the most demonstrative of all the peoples of the 



310 THE AMERICAN. 

earth. Everything must be brouglit to the surface, 
embodied in a visible, palpable form. For a fact 
to make any effect on the American mind it must 
be put in a shape where it can be seen, heard, 
handled. If you want to impress your fellows you 
must do it not through their reasoning powers, but 
through the five senses of their bodies. 

I noticed it first in connection with their way of 
conducting an election. A hundred thousand men 
are going to vote for M'Kinley ; that is nothing. 
Put your hundred thousand men down in Broad- 
way, so that we can see them marching, hear them 
shouting; then we will begin to appreciate the fact. 
And the more you give us to see and hear in the 
way of banners and bands, the more we shall ap- 
preciate it. The demonstrative nature of the race, 
once discovered in this respect, soon appeared a 
master-key which would unlock most of the puzzles 
in the American. The most patriotic of men, his 
patriotism seems always to centre rather on his flag 
than on his country : lie can see the flag, but he 
can't see the country. Why does he cover his per- 
son with childish buttons and badges ? Because you 
can see them, and you can't see the sentiments in 
his mind. Why does he cling all his life to the title 
of some rank or office he held twenty years ago ? 
You can hear the title pronounced, but you can't 
see the history of his life. A man's self is no good 
unless he can put a big legible label on it. Thus, 



THE ACCUSING BONE. 311 

again, they will not intrust their goods to anybody 
without receiving a check — something you can see 
and jingle in your pocket. They do not read Shake- 
speare, but would think it almost a sin to visit 
England without seeing Shakespeare's house. In 
business they are the most unwearied and ingenious 
advertisers in the world. In dress they appear vain, 
out of just the same reverence for the concrete and 
indifference to the abstract. No nation in the world 
is in such bondage to fashion as democratic America. 
Her men and women, young and old, wear boots that 
narrow to a sharp point, like skates, two inches 
beyond the toes ; they tinker at their faces with 
complexion-washes and nose-machines as zealously 
as some people in England tinker at their souls. But 
the extremest case I met of the appeal to the concrete 
was a lawsuit in which parents claimed damages for 
an assault on their child. A kick had brought on 
necrosis of the bone, and the necrosised bone was 
duly produced in court and handed round among the 
jury. That settled it. Tliere was plenty of medical 
evidence as to the cause of death, but all this 
weighed as nothing to the sight and feel of the 
accusing bone. 

It is in this sense that the Americans may fairly 
be called the most materialistic people of the world. 
Materialistic in the sense of being avaricious, I do 
not think they are : they make money, as I have 
said, because they must make something, and there 



312 THE AMERICAN. 

is nothing else to make. But materialistic, in the 
sense that they must have all their ideas put in 
material form, they unquestionably are. 

Another characteristic which may perhaps be partly 
explained on the same theory, is the American want 
of thoroughness. Whether in building a railway or 
in tilling a field, in enforcing a law or in keeping 
an appointment, they are less thorough than we. 
Everything is left, to the English mind, half finished. 
Perhaps one reason is that a certain amount has 
been done ; there is something to show ; the instinct 
of display is gratified. Without waiting to perfect 
the details that make no show, the American turns 
to attain palpable and striking results elsewhere. 
This may not be the whole explanation. There is 
also the roving temperament innate in the emigrant's 
children. Still more to the point is the very wise and 
practical turn which forbids wasting further effort 
on what will serve its purpose as it is. This virtue 
they have most eminently : except for little foibles 
born of the desire for outward effect, they are most 
free from pedantry. If the American is less doggedly 
resolute and persevering than the Englishman, he 
is proportionately more irresistible and ingenious in 
devising possible means to attain any impossible end. 

To pass from the manufactory, and the farm, and 
the mine, into the home, it is believed by people in 
this country that the American still preserves the 
private life of the Puritan, from whom, in some not 



NOT PURITANICAL. 313 

imexaggerated measure, he descends. But there is a 
good deal of misapprehension about this. As to the 
home, the Americans talk about it a great deal. A 
man never builds himself a house : he builds himself 
a home. But you cannot call a people who will never 
be happy ten years in the same place, who build them- 
selves houses with the view of shortly moving them 
bodily somewhere else, who often voluntarily live in 
public and comfortless hotels — you cannot call them 
home-loving in the English sense. As to Puritanism, 
people point to their irreproachable novels. Yes, but 
look at their disreputable newspapers. They will 
refuse to call legs anything but limbs, yet they will 
readily produce generous pictures of those limbs in 
tights. There is no need to go into the evidence, but 
I am satisfied that in point of morality the Americans 
are neither more nor less puritanical than ourselves. 
And the facts that they are the hardiest of gamblers 
and the most ingenious of blasphemers, though far 
from utterly damning, are hardly evidence of direct 
spiritual descent from the Puritans. Still less is the 
more important fact that, while often hide-bound by 
convention, America is magnificentlv free from in- 
tolerance. 

In one virtue these men furnish a shining example 
to all the world — in their devoted chivalry towards 
their women. They toil and slave, they kill them- 
selves at forty, that their women may live in luxury 
and become socially and intellectually superior to 



314 THE AMERICAN. 

themselves. They do it without even an idea that 
there is any self-sacrifice in it. Whether it is good 
for the women might be doubted, but it is unspeak- 
ably noble and honouring to the men. The age of 
chivalry is not gone ; until America it never came. 

On the other side of the picture is the American 
attitude to children and to the old. With children 
they are merely foolishly indulgent, thus producing an 
undisciplined, conceited, and ignorant youth. No 
American is fit to talk to until he is thirty, and he re- 
tains all his life a want of discipline, an incapacity for 
ordered and corporate effort. The individual may be 
the fresher and the stronger for it, but it is not pro- 
ductive of good government. With the old the accusa- 
tion is graver ; they are shouldered unmercifully out of 
existence. It would be impossible in America to find 
a newspaper correspondence like one which appeared 
in the ' Daily Mail ' upon " reasonable correction " of 
wives. But I found in New York a correspondence 
on the open question whether the old have any right 
to respect. Many of the public thought, quite serious- 
ly, they had no right even to existence. Why, it was 
asked, should those who had spent their lives in self- 
indulgence (that is, who had not saved money) pre- 
sume to stand in the way of the self-denying (or 
money-making) ? Away with them ! Now that would 
be impossible in England. 

One explanation is that virtually there are no old 
in America at all. The strenuous fever of life kills 



IS HE DYING OUT? 315 

the American at fifty or so. An American woman is 
old at thirty. And certainly the climate helps. It is 
not yet certain that North America is not the dead- 
liest white man's grave in the world. For the old 
families die out ; the native-born population at the 
last census had not increased, but had heavily de- 
creased. Maybe the climate is a man-killing one ; the 
French-Canadians breed prodigiously, but it appears 
from remains that the country never carried a popu- 
lation comparable to many areas of the Old World. 
Partly it may be that the nervous unrest of life in the 
States is antagonistic to the begetting of children ; 
partly it is the deliberate refusal of pampered women 
to assume the responsibilities of motherhood. Both 
these dangers are real ones. From whatever cause, the 
old element, the English element, the natural leaders 
of the country, are dying out, and the vacancies are 
filled by contributions from every nation of the earth. 
Will they blend ? Will these tributaries of new blood 
turn the stream of national character into another 
channel ? It is too early to say. 

It is entirely to be hoped not, for the character of 
the present American is not one to be lightly lost from 
the world. His worst fault is that he dislikes us. 
But that — though it sound a paradox — is because he 
respects us. Entirely free from personal self-con- 
sciousness, the Americans are nationally most self- 
conscious ; they resent the existence of a nation they 
are bound to respect. But that will go witli time. 



316 THE AMEKICAX. 

Meanwhile the Americau may make his miud easy 
about his country. It is a credit to him, and he is a 
credit to it. You may differ from him, you may laugh 
at liim ; but neither of these is the predominant 
emotion he inspires. Even while you differ or laugh, 
he is essentially the man with whom you are always 
wanting to shako hands. 



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20 List of Books Published hy 



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MY TRIVIAL LIFE AND MISFORTUNE: A Gossip with 

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William Blackwood and Sons. 25 



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26 List of Books Published by 



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